Squatters may be cause of vacant house fire

A fire fully consumed a home near SE 82nd and Flavel Road June 17, 2014, partially collapsing its roof. (KOIN 6)
A fire fully consumed a home near SE 82nd and Flavel Road June 17, 2014, partially collapsing its roof. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A fire at a city-owned vacant home may have been caused by squatters at the house, the early investigation shows.

No one was hurt in the fire that fully engulfed a boarded-up house in Southeast Portland, though firefighters thought at least one person may have been inside when they arrived.

The fire began just a few feet off the Springwater Corridor, the second fire this week that investigators said appears to have been started by squatters.

Firefighters were called to the property — known to police as “The Compound” — just after 6 a.m.

The home was already severely damaged by the time firefighters arrived, and the boards and a partially collapsed roof further complicated their response.

“Initial crews had high heat going into it,” firefighter Vince Wilson said. “With it being boarded up it takes a long time to get through the boarding process to get in there.”

The crews began battling it defensively, then moved in after the roof collapsed.

Police told KOIN 6 News the property at 8729 SE Malden Street has been on their radar for years. They’ve tried to combat the livability at the house that worries neighbors.

As in a Monday fire at a vacant house, the power had been shut off. Investigators said there is evidence squatters were inside this house.

“We weren’t sure if they were an actual victim of the house fire or whether it was somebody in the house calling in,” Wilson said.

Neighbors want the city to do something soon.

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