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Apartment complex evacuated after unattended propane heater causes fire

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    TIGARD, Oregon (KPTV) — Firefighters battled a second-alarm fire at a Tigard apartment complex Tuesday morning.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews were called out to a hazmat issue at the Sunflower Apartments, located in the 11500 block of Southwest 135th Avenue, at about 5:24 a.m. TVF&R told FOX 12 that 911 callers reported explosions and saw fire outside a corner unit.

First crews on the scene found heavy flames led by propane coming from the eves and side of the two-story building. The apartment building was safely evacuated, and firefighters quickly got the fire under control.

FOX 12 spoke with a resident of the complex who said he woke to his neighbors banging on doors. When he left his bedroom to see what was going on, he said the apartment was filled with smoke.

“I open up the door, the bedroom door, and it’s smoking,” Martin said. “I hit the ground crawling, try to go to the front door, couldn’t see anything at all. I opened the front door and they pulled me out.”

Martin told FOX 12 that his family and their dogs made it out safely.

TVF&R said three people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene but did not need to be taken to a hospital.

Three units sustained significant damage from fire, smoke and water. TVF&R said six people in those units will be permanently displaced, and about 24 people living in the building where the fire occurred will not be able to return to their homes on Tuesday due to safety concerns.

An investigator determined the cause of the accidental fire to be an unattended propane heater stored on an outdoor patio of a first-story unit.

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