Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue quickly extinguished a commercial structure fire at a downtown building and parking garage this afternoon.
Citizens called 9-1-1 to report heavy grey smoke and smells of burning rubber coming from the top of a parking garage located at 508 SW Taylor Street.
Firefighters from Station 1 (Old Town), Station 3 (Northwest/Pearl District), Station 4 (Portland State University), and Station 21(Eastbank/Hawthorne) rushed to the scene. Truck 3 firefighters arrived first in just under two minutes, quickly conducted a risk assessment, and began suppression operations immediately. Simultaneously, firefighters searched and evacuated all occupants.
Engine 4’s crew fought active fire on the first floor. Firefighters from Squad 1 accessed the roof and used a hand-held Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) to see areas of heat in the ducting through the smoke billowing out the stacked vents.
Water was introduced into the duct work from the first floor with a hose and from the roof with a pump can. Conditions improved dramatically and fans were set up for additional ventilation, pushing clean air and driving smoke outside.
Firefighters quickly determined that residual flammable grease in an HVAC system had caught fire and the ductwork had carried smoke through the commercial building and parking garage. Workers were doing renovations on the first floor of a former Carl’s Junior restaurant which may have sparked the fire.
Smoke in the area was so dense that alarm systems in nearby buildings were activated, causing a need for response by additional crews to investigate.
Fire investigators were called to the scene. The structure sustained smoke, fire, and water damage. Total damage estimates are unknown at this time.