Police ID victim in Corbett house fire

Credit: KGW

A body was found in the home after a fire in Corbett.

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by Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 6:02 PM

CORBETT -- A body was found in a Corbett home after firefighters were finally able to extinguish the flames and enter the smoldering ruins early Tuesday morning.

Investigators said Robert McLaughlin II, 60, was found dead inside the burned home.  The blaze is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal and the Multnomah County Sheriff.

Just after midnight, a passing car spotted flames and sparks coming from McLaughlin's home on Southeast Hurlburt Road. They pulled into the neighbor's driveway and called 911.

About 20 Corbett firefighters showed up to find flames shooting out of every single window from the basement to the second floor.They said the fire burned so hot, stairs were collapsing and the floor caved into the basement.

No bodies were found in an initial check of the home. Once fire crews could knock down some of the flames in the basement, they did another search and found McLaughlin's body in an open area of the basement, authorities said.

"There was so much fire in that basement, no one could have survived that," said Corbett Fire Chief Phil Dearixon. "But of course you're going to second-guess yourself. Could we have gotten somebody to notice it sooner? There was a lot of things."

Bethany Rau lives next door and it was her husband who ran over, banged on all the windows and called 911.

"By the time he got there, he said there was no way of him going in," Rau said. "There was smoke from every window. I'm just devastated, I had no idea. We were just really hopeful that no one was in there."

This was the first fire-related death in the Corbett district since the mid-1970s.

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