Emergency plan success story: Family escapes 2-alarm fire

PORTLAND, Ore. - Two homes and a garage were damaged overnight when a fire broke out in southeast Portland and one of two families that got out safely said a good emergency plan helped save them all.

"We have younger kids, we have a fifth grader, and so they always go through fire safety," said Christina Grelle. "Didn't think we'd ever have to use it."

The fire happened at a home in the 7200 block of Southeast 34th Avenue, just a few blocks south of Reed College.

First, a detached garage went up in flames. The fire then spread to two homes and by that time, firefighters had called two alarms to get more crews to the scene.

"My daughter said she heard a big boom," said Dean Dibblee, who lives in one of the homes that was burned. "We started putting water with a hose on it, but that was useless."

"I walked down here because I saw all the trucks and then there was a lot of smoke pouring out from the attic," said neighbor Rossana Wong. "You could see fire erupting and then they put that out."

The garage is a total loss and the Grelle family isn't sure of the full scope of damage to their home. Dibblee's home appeared to have damage only on the outside.

Fire investigators are looking into what happened.