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Two-alarm fire damages Old Town home

by: NEWS TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Forest Grove Fire & Rescue crews work to extinguish a fire on 17th Avenue in Old Town Forest Grove early Wednesday morning.A two-alarm fire in Forest Grove’s Old Town neighborhood early Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, has rendered a two-story home uninhabitable.

Matt Johnson, fire logistics technician for Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, said the blaze, which hit a two-story home at 2126 17th Ave. around 6:30 this morning, was “still pretty active” by 8:15 a.m.

No one was in the house, located midway between Ash and Birch Streets, at the time the fire broke out.

When firefighters arrived at the scene they saw “smoke coming from the roof line” and soon noticed fire in the back bedroom, Johnson said.

But clutter inside the home prevented firefighters from quickly accessing the fire, he added.

“Damage is pretty extensive — we had to cut three or four holes in the roof,” said Johnson. “It’s not going to be lived in for a while.”

Owner of the home is Gwen Steinbach, who was reportedly staying with her sister elsewhere in town when the blaze began, Johnson said.

Frigid weather presented an additional challenge to firefighters.

“It’s 22 degrees out here and feels like 18 degrees,” said Johnson, who pointed out that fire crews originally responded to a “generic fire alarm” at the home, which is at least 75 to 100 years old, then upgraded it to a second alarm when they called for additional crews.




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