Teamwork rescues Hood River fire victims

FIRE of undetermined cause and origin all but destroyed the home at 3747 Foster Court on Saturday.

Michael Devine
FIRE of undetermined cause and origin all but destroyed the home at 3747 Foster Court on Saturday.

A firefighter in street clothes, his friend and three law enforcement officers helped firefighters rescue three people from a burning home Saturday in Hood River.

No one was injured in the blaze, which destroyed a single-story home on Foster Court, off Henderson Drive near the west city limits.

The fire started at about 11:25 a.m. and was out about 90 minutes later. Source and cause are under investigation by Hood River and West Side fire departments, according to Hood River Fire Lt. Scott Tennant, who was first on the scene.

Tennant was off-duty at the time, visiting his friend John Blosser. A neighbor told Tennant the house, 150 yards away, was on fire, and Tennant and Blosser ran over.

The roof ultimately collapsed on the home after the fire started on the south exterior wall.

The occupants were unaware of the fire, as flames were only visible on the exterior south wall. Firefighters on the way, Tennant informed them of the fire, secured the scene and went outside and used neighbor’s garden hose to knock down the fire, which at first was limited to the siding.

“The house was clear of smoke at first, but all that changed in a matter of a few minutes,” Tennant said. Smoke quickly filled the interior, and firefighters were now combating the fire inside and out. An elderly male, who was bedridden and under hospice care, was handed to firefighters through a window by police officers Erin Mason and Houston Webb, and Sheriff’s Deputy Adam VandenBosch, who went into the smoky interior to help. Smoke had filled the house and it was deemed unsafe to take him to the front door, so responders passed him through the window, according to Tennant.

The victim was conscious but unresponsive at the time; he was taken to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital for treatment and has been released to a private home;

The man’s wife and granddaughter, along with a hospice nurse, were evacuated through the front door moments earlier and taken away in a private car, unhurt, according to Tennant. (At presstime, authorities did not have the names of the occupants.)

In addition to Hood River Fire and EMS, responding agencies were Wy’East Fire District, West Side and Parkdale Fire Departments, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, and Klickitat Valley.

The structure is surrounded by vacant lots, so no other structures were directly affected, but firefighters in brush trucks patrolled the neighborhood to the east in case fire spread, which it did not.

“The time we saved calling 9-1-1 and getting to the scene, the help of others and the knowledge I had as a firefighter all helped in saving lives. I was honored to be near the scene and able to respond,” Tennant said.

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