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News Release
Body of fire early on in the incident.
Body of fire early on in the incident.
PF&R responds to multiple greater alarm fires (Photo) - 07/04/24

Portland Fire responds to multiple greater alarm fires before 10 PM

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to what ended up being a 3rd alarm fire in NE Portland in the evening of July 4, 2024. An external fire at a pallet recycling location extended into many large piles of pallets. The fire extended into the home structure that doubled as the business office. There were no reported injuries, and the fire is under investigation.

At 7:30 PM, PF&R was dispatched to a possible structural fire in the Cully Neighborhood, near Whitaker Ponds Natural Area in NE Portland. A responding officer reported a significant smoke column or header on approach and another officer reporting the location was a pallet storage location. This set the tone for all responders that this was going to be a significant fire. Initial command officer was directing crews to capture all close hydrants as it was obvious based on the size of the fire and the large fuel load that this incident required quite a bit of water to extinguish. The first arriving battalion chief arrived and assumed command and quickly called a 2nd alarm, doubling the response for additional resources. This 2nd alarm was then followed by the tactical change from an offensive fire attack model to a defensive tactic, removing firefighters from inside the structure of the property as there was now an extremely large volume of fire throughout the structure and many tall stacks of pallets on fire, pushing flames up to 30’ in the air, posing a significant danger to the firefighters on the inside. This tactical change led to a Personal Accountability Report (PAR) from the command officer to be certain that all members working on scene were accounted for. There was a partial structural collapse of the building shortly after the PAR was complete with all members successfully accounted for.

With a strong breeze out of the NW and the large body of fire, there was a concern of this fire extending to neighboring structures. With a need for more personnel and equipment, the command officer called a 3rd alarm response, which brings the number of responders to nearly 75 firefighters. These firefighters were placed into divisions for a better ability to control the safety of those working this scene. As the wind was pushing fire close to the neighboring structures, the focus was to protect all exposure homes and businesses while keeping the fire limited to the pallets located on the property. Four aerial ladder trucks flowing 1200 to 2000 gallons per minute each from above along with many handheld hoses applying water to the structure and piles of pallets. The Port of Portland Fire Department responded with a specialized AARF rig and dumped their 3000g tank onto the fire as well in about 2 minutes. 

Within an hour the large body of fire was reduced and under control with crews having the ability to alter the number of hoses needed to completely extinguish the fire. The cause of this fire is under investigation. With a 3rd alarm assignment called to this location, many available rigs from across the city were relocated so the available engines and trucks in service were strategically placed throughout the city by Portland Fire Liaison Officer, to best respond to the incoming incidents throughout our response area.

As this 3rd alarm pallet fire was ending, a residential fire broke out in the North Tabor Neighborhood near Montavilla Park at 9:15 PM. This was a triplex residential structure with 8 residents living in the three occupancies. There were no injuries reported on this fire and all occupants were able to get outside safely. There were reports of 2 cats within the structure but with no fire damage on the interior it is assumed the cats are hiding within the home unharmed.

Fire crews arrived to have fire showing in the attic space and on the exterior of the building. Interior searches led to clear conditions in the living spaces with no evidence of fire damage present during the search performed by crews upon arrival. Fire was obviously running through what appeared to be an open attic space without fire blocks. At one point, there was fire showing through all roof vents with no fire activity in the living spaces below. With the heavy fire showing throughout the entire attic, the command officer requested a second alarm assignment in the event more personnel were needed. The crews on scene quickly addressed the existing flames and all second assignment companies were released prior to being assigned or even arriving at the incident. 

The cause of this triplex residential fire was a BBQ falling over and igniting the siding of the structure which ran up the wall and into the attic spaces. All residents will be displaced and Red Cross has been contacted to assist in this relocation.

Portland Fire would like to thank Portland Police for their assistance in traffic control and protecting our hose lines from being run over and damaged, the dispatchers at BOEC for this assistance in monitoring both fires, Pacific Power for responding and deenergizing the overhead and dropline powerlines, and to the Port of Portland for their assistance with their specialized rig. We would also like to thank the Red Cross for their assistance in providing relocation of those displaced by the residential fire.


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