PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fire broke out Thursday morning at the Park Plaza Apartments, in the 1900 block of Southwest Park Avenue.
Portland Fire & Rescue said the cause of the fire on the top floor of the 11-story building was "improperly discarded smoking materials." One person was taken to the hospital with burns to his hands and arms.
Toma Matisoff, the roommate of the injured man, told KGW that he was laying in his room mid-morning when when he heard a smoke detector. He initially ignored the alarm until his roommate banged on the door and asked for help.
Matisoff then realized that smoke in the apartment was thick. He called 911. His roommate, meanwhile, tried to put out the fire in his own room to no avail.
Matisoff said he grabbed his wallet and laptop, took good hold of his dog and the two men got into an elevator. That's when they both noticed the roommate was badly burned.
"He was definitely burned pretty bad, like his hands and his arms and stuff," Matisoff said. "He was really in that fight-or-flight mode trying his best to put it out."
Luckily, the Portland Fire Bureau has a station just two blocks from the building and responded quickly, said Capt. Louisa Jones.
Firefighters had to drag an extinguisher and hoses up the 11 flights of stairs to get to the fire, she said.
She said the older building has no sprinklers in the apartment. It does have standpipes, which eventually allow firefighters to draw water up the building.
While Matisoff and his roommate took an elevator down, she said the correct way is to take the stairs. Buildings most often drop elevators immediately to the ground level once an alarm is pulled.
In all, 17 pieces of equipment rolled to the apartment fire, she said.