Portland Fire & Rescue
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Portland Fire responds shipboard fire in the Willamette River (Photo) - 01/31/23

Portland Fire responds to shipboard fire at TEMCO Grain loading dock.

 

At 3:16 PM Portland Fire & Rescue responded a reported shipboard fire at the Temco Grain Loading dock on the east side of the Willamette River near the Broadway Bridge. The 636’ long Liberian flagged ship, Breeze, staffed by 21 Filipinos was docked taking on 38000 metric tons of wheat. The Tagalog speaking crew members are trained in many tasks with some having firefighting as one of their assigned responsibilities aboard the ship. 

 

Shipboard fires present a unique set of circumstances that require lots of manpower along with specialized tools and training to address the situation safely and successfully. The distances from the hydrant along with from the standpipe up three levels of stairs to the entry of the door takes quite a lot of firefighters and effort to make happen. Eleven 4-person land companies and two 4-person boat companies responded to the fire along with 4 chiefs to have over 50 individuals on site to aid in putting a stop to the fire. Much effort was put into establishing a successful water supply from the hydrant to the end of the hose with all the obstacles of working in and around the dock. The 11 land-based crews were used for firefighting efforts while the 2 fire boats were in place for two purposes; to serve as a potential water supply if needed as well as to act as a potential rescue boat should someone accidently step overboard while performing firefighting efforts.

 

The first arriving companies investigated and discovered a fire in a room on the “bravo” deck of the superstructure of the merchant ship with ship crew members applying water on the fire from an exterior position through a window. Members of PF&R found a translator, got information on the location of the fire, and accounted for all members of the ship’s crew upon arrival.

 

Hooking up to a hydrant on the outside of the facility and connecting over 1000’ of hose to an engine to then pump water into the standpipe along the dock required a few full companies to accomplish. The attack hose lines had to be transferred across a walkway to eventually connect to the dock standpipe, stretched up the stairs and then filled with water under pressure to allow for a safe interior fire attack. Once completed, fire crews safely entered the level of the fire and extinguished the flames inside of the laundry room of the “habitation area” of the ship.

 

The Land Based Marine Response Unit of Portland Fire & Rescue specializes in training for these types of events brought along a bevy of specialized tools and knowledge that aided the command staff in what to look out for and provided a necessary radio repeater that allowed the crews to communicate inside the metal ship. The metal construction of the ship interferes with or can eliminate radio transmissions increasing the danger of addressing a fire on the inside of a ship. The repeater assures the crews working of successfully communicating within the ship and to the outside command crew.

 

With the radio repeater put in place to assure smooth communication and water in the hose line at the doorway to enter the area of the fire, crews were quick to extinguish and remove all debris affected by the flames in what turned out to be a laundry room. It was reported that the metal construction of the ship held in so much of the heat generated from the burning material that water applied to the floor of the room above the level on fire was steaming and bubbling. 

 

The dangers of entering a ship with a fire is a different challenge for firefighting crews as the cut-up construction, narrow hallways and passages, and sudden valve stems and other projections off the wall are very unfamiliar to most responders. Being inside a home that has limited visibility due to smoke is discoverable to most but the landscape of the interior of a ship is very hard to navigate with visibility affected by smoke. On top of the dangers of the cut-up metal construction, much of the flammable infrastructure inside the berth is extremely toxic that added another dimension of concern for the command staff.

 

There were no reported injuries to either crew members or personnel from PF&R. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

Portland Fire & Rescue would like to thank the staff at Temco Grain Loading Dock for providing detailed information about the ship upon arrival and a translator to aid in successfully fighting the fire. 

 

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PF&R Crews battle fire on N. Mississippi in icy cold conditions overnight. (Photo) - 01/30/23

PF&R Crews battle fire on N. Mississippi in icy cold conditions overnight.

 

Portland Fire & Rescue was dispatched to reports of a residential fire just before 02:00 AM in the Albina neighborhood. The first arriving crews reported heavy fire coming from the backside of the structure and due to the proximity of structures near the fire unit, a second alarm was called to bring additional units in to assist with preventing fire spreading to the exposure units. 

 

The fire was brought under control approximately 20 mins after the arrival of the initial companies with crews now working to remove smoke and water from the structure. The Red Cross has been called out to assist 8 adult residents who have been displaced. No injuries were reported with this incident. Investigators are on scene working to determine the cause.

 

Portland Fire & Rescue want to remind you in times of extreme cold to use safe methods of heating your home. Keep flammable items away from any portable heaters and reduce the use extension cords to power up these portable heating sources for increased home fire safety. (This fire is still under investigation, but this safety message is important to share with the public during unusual periods of colder temperatures.)

 

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SE PDX Residential Fire Safely Extinguished (Photo) - 01/11/23

Portland Fire responds to mid-morning fire in SE PDX

Portland Fire &Rescue along with Gresham Fire were dispatched to a possible residential fire at 0946 today on a property adjacent to the Powell Butte Nature Park in the 4200 block of SE 141st. The first arriving engine reported that there was white smoke pushing out of the eaves of a 2-story home and the back seat crew was directed to begin an investigation of the structure at the address.

Early reports from the back seat crew reported that the home had an active fire in the basement as two other responding rigs arrived on the scene. This crew also reported that all residents had exited the home with one resident in need of a medical evaluation. Crews were given the direction to take an offensive fire attack and stretch hose lines from the engine and engage in an interior fire attack. A request was made for an ambulance to attend to the resident with possible smoke inhalation concerns.

The command officer was proactive in clarifying that the entry to the basement was on the backside of the house and that hose lines would be stretched to the back of the home and then advanced into the basement. While the hose lines were put into place a report was made that there was active fire showing in the second story with the fire running up the interior framing and wall of the house.

The engine crew that was given the task of establishing a safe plan of emergency exit of the structure, the Rapid Intervention Team, was performing a walk around the home to become familiar with the structure and reported that the electrical service power line was arcing and then was severed and had dropped to the ground. After they reported this to command, they stretched “do not cross” safety tape so any member involved and focused on fire suppression activities were not going to be in any danger due to the downed powerline. 

This fire grew during the first few minutes after arrival with the amount of fuel on the inside of the home due to excessive clutter and the difficulties at getting to the fire locations. This led to a lot of smoke pushing out under pressure of the windows, the eave line, and seams of the roof.

The first arriving battalion chief took command of the fire, directed a truck to begin opening the roof to aid in the removal of heat and smoke from the inside of the home. Given the large amount of smoke pushing out under pressure, command made certain there were hose lines in place to apply water on any fire along with a backup hose in place and manned to ensure a safe exit for crews on the inside if needed.

With six 4 person crews working 4 different hose lines and opening the roof of the home using saws, control of the fire was gained within 15 minutes of the call being received by the BOEC dispatch center. All crews remained on scene to be certain that all potential fire was located and extinguished.

Some of the challenges the crews faced was the distance from the pumping engine to the structure, the amount of clutter within the home, and the large amounts of vegetation present on the roof. Moving within the home was a challenge and the crews on the roof needed to scrape away the moss to reduce any danger of slipping.

Two residents will be displaced and are working with the Red Cross for lodging assistance. One resident was transported to the hospital for treatment and evaluation. The fire investigations unit is on scene establishing cause.

Portland Fire & Rescue would like to thank our partners at Gresham Fire and Emergency Services, BOEC, AMR, and the power company in their help at the emergency incident. We would also like to remind the public to quickly exit any building in the event of a fire to avoid injury.

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Demolition of former Portland Korean Church approved (Photo) - 01/05/23

The third alarm fire overnight to the old wooden church located at the corner of SW 10th and SW Clay in downtown Portland caused significant damage. This damage was evaluated by personnel from City Engineer's office and was deemed unsafe and was approved for demolition.

Through the Portland Fire & Rescue Preventions Division and the Fire Marshall's Office the timeline to begin the project was expedited as this structure poses a danger to the surrounding area and is affecting surface street travel along with the Portland Streetcar operations. The removal project is slated to begin tomorrow, January 5, 2023, with the goal of removal of enough of the structure to open up the streets and return the Portland Streetcar to normal operation as soon as possible. 

Until the demolition begins, Portland Fire & Rescue will maintain a fire watch operation with crews and apparatus on scene to provide any fire suppression needs if needed. A private company has been contacted to maintain the safety of the area when the fire crews formally disband. All travel in this area will be restricted until the building is removed. Perimeter safety barricades and fencing are in place to prevent people from getting into any harm's way. Avoid the area and plan accordingly for street closures that will include sidewalk traffic.

Updates to the incident and the status of the street travel will occur on Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Bureau of Transportation Twitter Feeds. Please look to these resources for any updates.

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UPDATE 

The demolition of the church has been delayed and will not begin this morning. All further updates from Portland Fire & Rescue will occur on out Twitter feed. Please look to there for any more specific updates.

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Arrest made in destructive of Portland Korean Church Fire - 01/04/23

Subject arrested and charged with Arson in Historic Church Fire

A suspect has been arrested for setting the fire at 933 SW Clay Street on January 3, 2023.  The suspect, Cameron David Storer (MW 03/31/95 aka: Fait, Nicolette) was taken into custody this afternoon after the collective efforts of members of the Portland Fire & Rescue Fire Investigations Unit (FIU). The FIU is staffed by members of both the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue. Storer is charged with Arson I, Arson II, and Burglary II.

  

A person commits the crime of arson in the first degree if:

  • By starting a fire or causing an explosion, the person intentionally damages:
    • Protected property of another.
    • Any property, whether the property of the person or the property of another person, and such act recklessly places another person in danger of physical injury or protected property of another in danger of damage; or
    • Any property, whether the property of the person or the property of another person, and recklessly causes serious physical injury to a firefighter or peace officer acting in the line of duty relating to the fire; or
  • By knowingly engaging in the manufacture of methamphetamine, the person causes fire or causes an explosion that damages property described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
  • Arson in the first degree is a Class A felony.

A person commits the crime of arson in the second degree if:

  • By starting a fire or causing an explosion, the person intentionally damages:
    • Any building of another that is not protected property; or
    • Any property of another and the damages to the property exceed $750; or
  • By knowingly engaging in the manufacture of methamphetamine, the person causes fire or causes an explosion that damages property described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
  • Arson in the second degree is a Class C felony. 

A person commits burglary 2 if:

  • A person commits the crime of burglary in the second degree if the person enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein.
  • Burglary in the second degree is a Class C felony.

 

There are no further details available currently. The investigation into this fire is ongoing.  Fire/Arson Investigators will be working over the next several days to complete a scene examination.  If anyone has any information related to this fire, they are encouraged to call the PF&R Investigations Information Line at 503-823-FIRE (3473). 

 

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Third Alarm Fire at the former Portland Korean Church (Photo) - 01/04/23

Old Portland Korean Church in Downtown Portland Destroyed by Fire

Just before 5:30 PM, Portland Fire Dispatch Center tapped out a single alarm fire at the corner of SW 10th and SW Clay St. There were reports that fire was pushing out of a church located at the intersection and that the flames were impinging up against the home to the east of the building. The three-story wooden 3000 square foot church with an additional 35 feet of steeple raising nearly 70 feet in the air was built in 1905 and served a Korean congregation during the time of use. It was currently unoccupied and not actively in use.

The address of this building is well known to Portland Fire & Rescue as a fire at this location, in September 2020, damaged the interior to the degree there remains holes in the floors today. The Fire Preventions Division has labeled this building unsafe for entry and the building specialist has worked proactively with the owner to make sure the church is closed and secure with all lower-level windows and doors boarded over to prevent undesired entry. This building and other similar unsafe structures are regularly checked by PF&R Preventions Specialist with the most recent evaluation of the church being last Friday, December 30, 2022. 

The unsafe status of the building was communicated by both responding chiefs and prepared crews for a defensive fire attack, where large hose streams from aerial and exterior operations are employed to put copious amounts of water on the fire without putting anyone in danger on the inside of the building. This information instructed all responding crews to prepare to connect to many different hydrants and supply the large streams from the responding ladder trucks and available engines.

Street progress to the fire for all responding apparatus was difficult and slow with the rush hour traffic affecting their speed of travel. The first arriving crews confirmed heavy fire with flames impinging on a neighboring home. This engine operated a protection hose line which is intended to cool the flames and prevent the fire from pushing into the neighboring structure, which in this case was 10’ away. This engine was on the Clay Street side to the East of the church operated a large hose line and stopping any fire spread to the interior of the home. Given the large body of fire in the church, this small distance is easily spanned, and the initial efforts saved this home.

As this engine worked on protecting the neighboring home, the remainder of the responders connected to hydrants and supplied the aerial truck operations. With the fire growing rapidly a second and third alarm were added to bring more available working bodies to the scene. In total, twenty crews responded placing 80 firefighters to work at the incident.

The fire grew aggressively in the church as the crews set up their trucks. When all trucks were in place, the large amounts of water used affected the stability of the structure. Walls bulged and leaned due to fire damage combined with the water flow. This forced a few of the apparatus on scene to reposition to be safely out of the collapse zone. 

This concern of building collapse forced the firefighters on the inside of the neighboring home to withdraw from the structure for safety. Before they exited, they attached an open hose line on the inside of the home flowing water out of the window into the church. This was an unmanned hose line able to reach the fire easily throughout the remainder of the incident.

As time went by, the bulk of the fire was suppressed by the four ladder trucks operating their master streams along with teams of firefighters working to man large handlines from a distance. With the many large bore water streams entering through the damaged roof from above or through windows and other openings from ground operated hand lines, the firefighters gained control of the fire spread in the church. With much of the fire eliminated an hour into the incident, command had all water streams stopped to see if we needed to continue to operate with all four trucks and any of the crews on the ground. After a period with no real fire growth the decision was made to release crews from the scene. With many engines pumping to trucks and thousands of feet of hose on the ground, picking up and getting crews cleared took some time. The decision was made to call the incident controlled with 2 trucks and 2 engines remaining. There will be different crews rotating through the night on fire watch to operate the water flow all night long. 

The structural stability of the building will be evaluated by the City Engineer in the morning to determine the safety of the structure. The height of the steeple is such that a collapse would potentially reach the overhead powerlines that serve the Portland Streetcar. The extended fire suppression along with the potential of collapse with have a significant impact on travel in this area at least through mid-day tomorrow. There will be no vehicle or pedestrian traffic on Clay from 11th to Park and travel will also be limited on 10th between Columbia and Market. The Portland Streetcar will be servicing their routes using busses as this section will be closed at this time. Please plan accordingly given the road closures. Portland Fire & Rescue will be working in conjunction with PBOT to open the roads as soon as it is safe for travel.

There were no reported injuries on scene. There will be five residents of the neighboring home displaced. The Fire Investigations Unit was on scene and will be to begin evaluating the building to determine a cause and the investigation will resume in the morning.

Portland Fire and Rescue would like to thank our partners at BOEC and PBOT for their assistance in managing this event. We would also like to acknowledge to work performed by members of the Portland Fire Logistics Division Apparatus Maintenance Crew who responded to the scene with fuel and DEF to be sure the engines and trucks operate successfully through the night.

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