Washington County Sheriff's Officers on scene in Roy. Photo: Forest Grove Fire and Rescue
A residence and local landmark in Roy was damaged during a fire on Wednesday evening, according to Forest Grove Fire and Rescue, with no injuries reported for the home's residents or pets, including a cat and an unspecified number of pet opossums.
The building that was damaged is a a former country store that was converted into a home on Roy Road between the railroad tracks and Harrington Road.
Crews were dispatched to the scene at 5:53 p.m. Wednesday, December 9, and arrived to find smoke coming from the building, according to a press release from Forest Grove Fire and Rescue.
A search for the the source of the fire, complicated by what the agency said was "increased amounts of clutter throughout the building," began as crews entered the home. A second alarm was requested, allowing additional firefighters to assist in searching the large building.
The Forest Grove Fire & Rescue fire investigator determined on Thursday that the fire was caused by juveniles "misusing" fire in a storage area used by the building's landlord. FGF&R said that the ages of the youths and their relation to the home that was damaged would not be released.
To avoid a similar scenario, FGF&R advised that matches and lighters be kept in locked areas where children can't get to them, and to teach children fire safety precautions in and around the home.
Approximately 30 minutes after arriving on the scene, firefighters located the source of the fire on the first floor and quickly put it out.
For the next 45 minutes, firefighters remained on the scene, checking for hot spots and ventilating smoke from the building.
No injuries were reported during the fire, including to the family's pets, which include a cat and at least two opossums.
A cat rescued from the fire in Roy. Photo: Forest Grove Fire and Rescue
No fire hydrants exist in the immediate Roy area, FGF&R said, forcing firefighters to rely on water trucked in on water tenders.
"Forest Grove Fire & Rescue wants to remind citizens to have a working smoke alarm in sleeping areas and to test them monthly," the agency said.
Gaston Fire District, Banks Fire District, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, the Washington County Sheriffs Office, Portland General Electric and Metro West Ambulance all assisted during the fire, with a total of 45 personnel, seven engines, one truck, one rescue vehicle, four water tenders and three chiefs called to fight the blaze.
This story has been updated with the results of the fire investigation.