Family escapes Forest Grove house fire

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Forest Grove Fire crews were called to this home in the 1100 block of Alyssum Avenue in Forest Grove Sunday night, Sept. 8, 2013. (Gabe Austin/KOIN 6 News)

FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KOIN) — A quick-thinking mother and her four children safely escaped a two-alarm house fire in Forest Grove Sunday night.

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Forest Grove Fire crews were called to this home in the 1100 block of Alyssum Avenue in Forest Grove Sunday night, Sept. 8, 2013. (Courtesy @ForestGroveFire via Twitter)

The blaze broke out before 8:20 p.m. at a home 1100 block of Alyssum Avenue.

“The mother of the house smelled smoke and it wasn’t normal, so she went around to all the windows,” said Matt Johnston of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue. “She looked out the front door and saw there were flames coming out of the garage.”

She told her two 7-year-olds to run to their predetermined meeting place — a mailbox across the street — while she grabbed her 3-year-old twins and ran out with them.

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The garage roof of this home on Forest Grove’s Alyssum Avenue after a Sept. 8, 2013, fire. (Gabe Austin/KOIN 6 News)

No one was hurt.

Crews arrived to find heavy flames in the garage that were spreading to the attic. It took firefighters about 15 minutes to bring the blaze under control. The blaze did not spread inside the living area of the home. Firefighters remained on scene for several hours putting out hot spots.

The blaze caused an estimated $40,000 in damage and likely started near a refrigerator in the garage, FGF&R said. The cause remains under investigation.

Having a fire escape plan in place helped save their lives.

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Matt Johnston of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue talks to KOIN 6 News — outside this partially burned Forest Grove home — about creating a fire escape plan. (Gabe Austin/KOIN 6 News)

“Draw a plan of your house and show where everything is, and then know two ways out of your house,” Johnston said. Make sure there is a designated meeting place not far from your house and keep a fire extinguisher and a throw ladder in the house. Also make sure your smoke detectors are working.

And practice your escape plan at least four times a year.

“It shows that it can save someone’s life and keep them from being hurt,” he said.

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue and the Cornelius, Banks and Gaston Fire departments also assisted in the response.

— Elishah Oesch contributed to this report.

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