PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman is gathering support for her neighbors after a 2-alarm fire destroyed their home Wednesday afternoon.
Dark smoke and heavy flames could be seen coming from the massive house fire in the 13800 block of NW Milburn Street. By the time firefighters arrived, the house and a shed were fully engulfed in flames.
Rachel Panter and Raice Davenport had just returned home from Seattle when they noticed the glow next door.
“By the time we saw the fire, the back house was completely in flames,” Panter said. “We ran in and we could feel the heat off the flames, it was really really hot back there.”
Kathleen Beaton lives across the street from John and Linda Aleskus, the homeowners who lost everything in the fire. Thankfully, the couple and their dogs were able to get out of the house safely.
“They heard a big boom, we all heard it,” she said. “I heard a couple big booms and he got up and looked out in the backyard and just told her to run.”
Their son Eric said his father is recovering from major surgery and was resting when the fire started.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue were able to extinguished the fire after about 2 hours. Officials said it was difficult “due to excessive contents in the home” and the heat.
“That’s why it’s still burning,” Davenport told KOIN 6 News as the fire raged. “There is like stuff underneath other things, and underneath other things, so it’s just burning like plastic layers and stuff.”
Crews managed to contain the fire to the one property without flames spreading to any other homes.
The American Red Cross stepped up to provide temporary housing for the displaced couple and Beaton started a GoFundMe page to raise money.
“I’ve been here for 20 years and John’s the kind of person — I can’t tell you how many times he’s come over here and helped me,” Beaton said. “Lent me a tool, help me fix something around here. He’s always friendly always comes over to chat. It’s just really hard to see this happen to them.”
Two firefighters were injured while working on the fire and were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.