PENDLETON - Frank Perkins didn't even have time to put on his shoes when he ran out of his burning house Tuesday evening.
He stood outside his home at 1650 S.W. 18th Street - just off Southwest Perkins - in a pair of blue socks, watching with neighbors as more than 10 firefighters worked to get the blaze under control.
"I was watching TV," he said. "Next thing I know my cable went out. I came down the stairs and there was a fire on the back porch."
He immediately called 9-1-1 and exited the house.
"I came out right away," he said.
Dispatch received the 9-1-1 call at 6:45 p.m.
Pendleton fire sent three engines in response to the blaze. Tribal Fire also responded and arrived to help relieve firefighters after 7:30 p.m.
Perkins was the only one inside as his son, Jeff, was at work.
Jeff said he received a call saying he should head home as soon as possible. He arrived around 7:15 p.m.
While firefighters aired out the smoke from the front door and attacked with fire hoses from the roof of the garage, neighbors worked to protect the house next door at 1690 S.W. 18th St.
Jeff Kendrick, who lives at 1690 and had been golfing when the fire began, came home to find his neighbors spraying the roof with a garden hose.
He said when he drove up he was relieved to see it wasn't his house on fire.
"In one way you have a sense of relief that it's not your house but you also feel bad for your neighbors," he said.
From atop his roof, Kendrick had a vantage point on the blaze in Perkins' house. He said he saw a hole in the roof and firefighters spraying water from the inside to the outside.
"There were definitely flames coming up the top, for sure" Kendrick said.
"We saw a few flames on top," agreed Gary Graybeal, a neighbor who was helping wet Kendrick's roof.
Pendleton Fire Marshal Tyler Nokes said just before 8 p.m. that he was unsure of the damage to the house as firefighters were still mopping up hot spots on the roof. The fire was mostly under control by that time.
He did call it "extensively damaged."
"The fire got into the attic, the roof is unstable now," Nokes said.
While battling the blaze, firefighters had to be especially careful due to the 100-degree heat outside and the 1,500-degree heat inside, Nokes said. After exiting the house, a medical officer checked firefighters' vital signs for heat stroke.
"Everybody's just getting worn out fast," Nokes said. "It doesn't take long for these guys to get exhausted quickly. ... The body's working double and triple overtime."
At 9 p.m., Nokes said he was just entering the house to inspect it and find the cause of the fire.
Perkins said he had fire insurance and, jokingly, added that all his possessions were replaceable.
Perkins seemed a bit stunned as he watched the firefighters work. He said it was difficult for him to remember where he'd seen the fire start.
Eventually he did find something to cover his feet and by 8 p.m. was wearing a white pair of tennis shoes.