Lost in the Line of Duty
October 25, 1922
Oscar B. Gabriel
Oscar Gabriel was born March 23, 1881. He became a Portland Firefighter on October 4, 1904 and later resigned. He re-entered Portland Fire Department on May 6, 1912.
He was working at Engine 12 on October 25th, 1922 when he and his crew were sent to a fire at Washington High School. The fire, which was purposely set, caused over $400,000 damage (in 1922). It was a spectacular blaze that could be seen across the east side of the city.
The fire, which went to a 4th alarm, brought both on and off duty firefighters from across the city. Engine 12 with Gabriel were assigned to the southeast corner of the building. Just after rendering their hose line operational, Chief Lee Holden realized the wall of the building was about to collapse. He ordered the crew of Engine 12 to evacuate their position. While other crew members moved away parallel to the falling wall, Gabriel moved perpendicular. He was not fast enough to escape the falling stone and brick as it collapsed upon him. While Lieutenants Cooper and Cahill of the Fire Marshal’s Office bravely tried to rescue Gabriel, they found he had died instantly.
Portland Fire & Rescue honors and remembers
Firefighter Garbriel’s service.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
October 25, 2010