Fire displaces two Dallas families

DALLAS -- A fire in the 400 block of Southwest Washington Street on Thursday destroyed a home and vehicle and caused significant damage to a neighboring house.


Bystanders watch from across Southwest Washington Street as firefighters battle flames in two homes Thursday.

DALLAS -- A fire in the 400 block of Southwest Washington Street on Thursday destroyed a home and vehicle and caused significant damage to a neighboring house.

Dallas Fire Department was dispatched at 9:02 a.m. to respond to the reported fire. The first units arrived at 9:07 a.m. and found the majority of the home at 431 SW Washington St. engulfed in flames and the roof partially collapsed.

Officials said the single occupant discovered the fire and unsuccessfully attempted to quell the flames.

Residents gathered at the scene said the garage of the neighboring home at 443 SW Washington Street had caught fire before firefighters arrived. The fire then moved from the garage into the attic space and worked its way toward the front of the house, officials said.

"We had crews up in there but their access into here was really limited," Polk County Fire District No. 1 Operations/Training Division Chief Neal Olson said. "It just kind of worked its way down into the second floor from the attic space."

According to a Dallas Fire Department press release, the garage at 443 SW Washington St. had a minimal clearance of five feet from the other home.

"We're still working on the investigation, but the cause is being determined as unintentional," Dallas Fire Department Assistant Chief Joshua Darland said. "We're still working on total loss values."

No injuries were sustained by the occupants of either home, but two firefighters received minor steam burns and were treated at the scene. Two cats at 443 SW Washington St. were believed to have died in the fire, but were found inside the home the next morning.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 12:30 p.m., Darland said.

Gary Suderman of Dallas, the property owner of 431 SW Washington St., said he was alerted by the neighboring homeowners that his property was ablaze.

Photo by Pete Strong

Firefighters battle the flames at a home at 443 SW Washington St. in Dallas Thursday morning.

The tenant of Suderman's property told him she was in bed and woke up to fire in her room.

"She just moved in a few months ago. She doesn't know what to do next," Suderman said. "I know she's traumatized. She said her bed was on fire."

Firefighters were unable to use Ladder 101, the department's ladder truck, due to the proximity of power lines to each residence.

"It certainly could've helped if they had been able to get that stick (ladder) up in the air," Olson said. "The pump on that truck is a 2,000 or maybe 2,500 gpm (gallon per minute) pump. They can create a monsoon out of that thing."

Thirteen firefighters from Dallas were on the scene as well as six from PCFD No. 1 and Falls City Fire Department.

FCFD was brought for additional resources. Salem and Corvallis fire department assisted covering Dallas and Polk County during the fire.

Polk and Marion counties are conducting the investigation due to staffing constraints at Dallas Fire Department.

"Everyone's alive," Suderman said. "The rest we can replace."


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