Firefighters rescue resident trapped in burning home

ECFR, CWFD crews save man from bedroom early Tuesday morning

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Fire crews from East County Fire & Rescue, Camas-Washougal Fire Department and Vancouver Fire Department respond to a structure fire north of Camas-Washougal early Tuesday morning, Feb. 20, 2024. Firefighters were able to rescue a trapped individual from the burning home. (Photo courtesy of East County Fire and Rescue)

Firefighters rescued a resident trapped in a burning home north of Camas-Washougal in east Clark County Tuesday, Feb. 20.

According to a news release, firefighters from East County Fire and Rescue (ECFR), the Camas-Washougal Fire Department (CWFD) and the Vancouver Fire Department responded to a residential fire with a trapped occupant at 412 N.E. Blair Road, north of Camas-Washougal, early Tuesday morning.

When the crew from ECFR Engine 91 arrived, they found a small, one-story house on fire and said a resident “confirmed that an invalid occupant was trapped in his bedroom.”

ECFR and CWFD crews worked to contain the fire while a CWFD crew and the captain from Engine 91 rescued the trapped resident.

ECFR reported in the news release that “the fire was quickly knocked down and the building was searched for additional occupants.”

They also said “operations were hindered by the large amount of contents in the building and energized electrical wiring” and that the fire could not be fully extinguished until Clark Public Utility District personnel cut power to the building.

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating, but believe the fire was accidental and may have started in the home’s electrical panel.

Due to a lack of staffing, ECFR had temporarily closed its Station 93 on Northeast 312th Avenue, which moved an additional firefighter to its Station 91 on Northeast 267th Avenue to work with the two-person crew normally assigned to Engine 91.

“This provided sufficient staffing for the first arriving ECFR engine to be able to make entry, control the fire and begin rescue operations,” ECFR reported in the news release. “If Engine 91 had its normal two-person staffing, interior firefighting and rescue operations would have been delayed until an engine from (CWFD) arrived.”

As reported last week in The Post-Record, ECFR is struggling with budget shortfalls and staffing issues, including, as the news release stated, “maintaining sufficient personnel to maintain two staffed stations, one on each side of the Washougal River to provide timely response.”

The ECFR Board of Commissioners will consider asking voters to approve a fire levy lid lift to provide funding for four additional full-time firefighters and the replacement of aging fire vehicles.