PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Firefighters battled an apartment fire in downtown Portland early Monday morning.
Portland Fire & Rescue crews were called out at around 4:33 a.m. to the fire in the 1300 block of Southwest 16th Avenue.
When crews arrived to the scene, fire could be seen from the attic of a two-story building. PF&R said there was active fire on the roof and first floor.
All residents were able to get out of the building safely.
PF&R said an investigator determined the cause to be careless smoking. A cigarette butt was tossed into bark dust which caused the fire to start in the basement.
Walker Davis, who was staying with a friend next door, tells FOX 12 he was on his way to work when he spotted the beginnings of the fire.
“I looked down to my right and I was like, ‘Huh. Someone probably dropped a cigarette in the bark dust.’ And I kick it, and then I was like, ‘Huh, that’s like glowing,’” said Davis. “And then I start digging it out and I could feel immense heat.”
Davis says one of his first instincts was to break a nearby window and let people who were sleeping inside know there was a fire quickly eating away at the duplex.
“I made it very clear like, ‘There’s a fire. You need to exit!’ And they took me serious, good thing,” Davis told FOX 12. “I said, ‘Grab your phone! Call 911!’”
Firefighters say the cigarette butt smoldered through the bark and to the basement, and then fire traveled up a wall to the attic.
Davis says he grabbed his friend, and they acted quickly. The two of them used a garden hose to wet down what they could until firefighters got there.
Portland firefighters want to remind people to always safely get rid of cigarettes by making sure they are completely out first, and never throwing them in anything that can ignite easily.
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