HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) - A fire that caused extensive damage to two Hillsboro homes was started by ashes from a barbecue grill dumped in a plastic container, investigators said Friday night.
Crews arrived at the scene on Northeast Glen Ellen Drive at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Fire investigators said a teenage boy cleaned out the family's grill and dumped the ashes into a plastic trash barrel.
He later heard crackling noises and then the home's power went out.
He got out of the house unharmed, as did the family's small dogs.
"This huge black smoke cloud came up in between the two houses and we saw a huge flame in between," said neighbor Sasha Stites. "Our neighbor ran out with his dog as was like, "Call 911!'"
Crews had the fire out in both houses within 30 minutes.
Before that, though, neighbors said they heard an explosion.
"I thought it was probably a car wreck," said Wendy Burton, who lives nearby.
Investigators believe the fire's intense heat likely caused a natural gas meter to fail and it produced a small explosion.
Investigators said the residents in the first home are renters and had no insurance. They will be assisted with temporary housing by the Red Cross. The family who lives in the second home is working with their insurance company to obtain temporary accommodations.
Damage to the homes is expected to exceed $100,000 each.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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