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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Think Safe at the Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum

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The Jeff Morris Fire & Life Safety Foundation and Portland Fire & Rescue have teamed up to bring you a remarkable facility known as the "Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum."

The Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum, located at the Historic Belmont Firehouse at 900 SE 35th Avenue, is not your traditional museum.  The Safety Learning Center’s mission is to share the rich history and heritage of the fire service in Portland, Oregon and promote fire and life safety education for each and every guest. 

Stories, images, and firefighting equipment are housed at the Safety Learning Center. Whether it's an 1859 Jeffers Sidestroke Handpump Fire Engine, the 1879 Amoskeag Steam Pumper, or the 1860 Hose Cart, all are wonderfully restored and presented for close-up enjoyment by the public. 


Time lines decorate the walls and take the visitor decade by decade through the evolution of the city of Portland and Portland Fire & Rescue.  Images and stories are mounted in wooden ladders crafted by Portland's ladder shop decades ago.  The unique setting of the 1912 firehouse and the "tools of the trade" that decorate the facility provide an experience like no other "museum."   

While some exhibits span the life of Portland Fire & Rescue, not everything is 150 years old. Some tools, like the original "Jaws of Life," came into being in the 1970s and have already evolved far beyond the original design, which is on display. 

Tours are easily self-guided or, for a $1 donation, take the Audio Tour, which lasts 30 minutes and employs wonderful sound effects to supplement your tour.  As always, firehouse staff will be on hand to assist in your tour or answer any questions. Visits are free, but donations to the Jeff Morris Fire & Life Safety Foundation are always accepted. 


Upcoming Events and Important Dates


Safety Saturday

Safety Saturday at the Historic Belmont Firehouse occurs the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 am to 3:00 p.m.  Drop in during open hours to see the exhibits and learn about safety for you and your family.  No appointment is necessary. Scheduled Safety Saturday events include:

  • Saturday, November 14, 2009
  • Saturday, January 9, 2010

**Please note that from December 19, 2009 to January 8, 2010, the Safety Learning Center is closed for the holiday season.

For questions about tours, events, activities, or safety information, contact Don Porth at (503) 823-3615 or link to the official website at

November 13, 2009

For All That Chaplains Give Of Themselves, Sometimes They Need Our Help

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Photo Courtesy of website


Dwight Douglas served previously as a Chaplain for Portland Fire & Rescue and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. In May 2006, Chaplain Douglas was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.  Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle.  In these conditions, the heart muscle becomes enlarged or abnormally thick or rigid.  In rare cases, the muscle tissue in the heart is replaced with scar tissue.  He underwent a heart transplant in June 2006.  In December 2008, Dwight learned that a valve in his new heart was leaking excessively.  In February 2009, further testing revealed that the arteries of his heart were beginning to narrow and close off. 

Dwight currently needs a second heart transplant.  To help Dwight and his family raise money to cover the transplant expenses and other expenses related to his medical care, a pancake breakfast is being held in his honor at the Aloha Church of God on 18380 SW Kinnaman Road in Aloha, Oregon.  Volunteers and eaters are needed! 

Pancake Breakfast

Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 8:00 am to 11:30 am

Aloha Church of God -- 18380 SW Kinnaman Road Aloha, Oregon

$7.00 for adults, children ages 5 and under are free 

Visit Dwight Douglas’s website at  



Chaplaincy…Serving Those Who Serve

Everyday, people call on local fire services for help. The calls range from simple fires, to auto accidents, to structure fires with people inside. The victims include the very young to the very old. Seeing death and physical injuries can be difficult for firefighters and can produce feelings of guilt, helplessness, or anger.

Many fire agencies have implemented Chaplaincy Programs that provide counseling support to firefighters and on-scene support to victims and their families.  Fire Chaplains can also provide spiritual guidance, be a liaison with hospitals and clinics, explain insurance and benefits, and conduct/assist at funerals and weddings. 

November 10, 2009

UPDATED NEWS RELEASE 11/10/09: Marysville Elementary School Three Alarm Fire

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On November 10, 2009 at about 11:40 a.m., Portland Fire & Rescue responded to a structure fire at Marysville Elementary School in SE Portland, Oregon. Within a matter of minutes, Portland Police assisted teachers and staff in evacuating all the children.  Two adults were transported for minor smoke inhalation.  No children were injured. All 460 students and 17 teachers were evacuated to the Holgate Public Library.  

The fire spread rapidly through the structure and in the attic spaces.  Portland firefighters used very aggressive tactics including "trench cuts" and interior operations in an effort to limit fire spread.  Trench cuts, which are holes cut in the roof, spanned the entire attic space.  Trench cuts direct fire and smoke out of the attic space instead of allowing the fire and smoke to spread throughout the entire structure. The aggressive attack on the fire allowed firefighters to save most of the building.

Approximately 100 firefighters were called to fight the fire.  Also dispatched were four trucks, 12 engines, one heavy rescue, one rescue, and six chief officers.

Preliminary damage estimates include $2,750,000 in building damage and $1,500,000 in contents damage.

Clackamas Fire District #1 and Gresham Fire Department provided companies to respond to calls from Portland stations left vacant by crews at the scene of the fire.

Portland Fire & Rescue investigators, along with agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, investigated the cause and source of the November 10th fire at Marysville Elementary School. They finished the on scene portion of the Marysville School fire investigation on November 14th and released the building back to Portland Public Schools.

Approximately 100 witness interviews were conducted along with two full days of digging and searching for the fire cause and origin. Fires of this magnitude are labor intensive and require extensive information gathering. This was a devastating fire that has deeply affected the community. While tremendous progress has been made, PF&R is unable to provide a fire cause at this time.

The fire remains under investigation.

Investigators are specifically asking for help in gathering photos of the Discovery Zone building.  If you have photos of the Discovery Zone building taken within the last year (from the inside, outside, or from any angle) or you have any other information you feel would be of value to investigators, please contact (503) 823-3791. This phone number will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can leave a message after hours and they will return your calls.

November 13, 2009

SafetyTIPS: How to Survive a Fire in a Crowded Place

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How to Survive a Fire in a Crowded Place

If you're planning to attend a celebration during this holiday season, will you be able to get out safely should a fire unexpectedly erupt while you're busy celebrating?  It’s important to give thought to the possibility that trying to get out of a crowded place in an emergency could instantly become a matter of life and death.

If you haven't, now is the time to be prepared for that kind of emergency:

  1. As soon as you get to your designated place, familiarize yourself with where all of the exits are. Don't just glance in the direction of the exits. Actually walk the path to at least one of those exits from where you will be standing or sitting. Remember, the power will likely go out from the fire. The possibility of becoming disoriented in the dark or from smoke inhalation is extremely high. It's crucial that you know in which direction to hurry to as soon as a fire erupts.
  2. Wear non-flowing clothing and practical shoes. Keep any laces tied to prevent tripping.
  3. Don’t stop to collect your possessions (e.g., purse, clothing, shoes).  Leave them behind and get out!  Prevent getting knocked down at all costs.
  4. Should a stampede situation develop as celebration-goers surge for the nearest exit, turn in the direction of an alternate exit, such as the back door or a window you can throw a chair through if necessary to make your escape.
  5. Take care when negotiating staircases, ramps and elevated flooring. The force of a moving crowd can become impossible to manage, causing you to trip, fall, and possibly be trampled.

For further tips to keep you safe in a crowded area, click here.


November 16, 2009

Fire Trivia: Fire Hydrants

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Each week, the Fire Blog will offer a trivia question and answer to boost your fire IQ:


Q:  Why are fire hydrants different colors?

Think you know the answer?  Post a comment and look for the answer on Monday!



A:  Most often fire hydrants are painted different colors to allow firefighters to quickly identify water pressure of any fire hydrant. The four basic colors are red, yellow, blue, and green.


 IMPORTANT INFO:  Keeping Fire Hydrants Clear – Keeps You Safe!


Citizens have a part in helping Portland Fire & Rescue to protect life and property by maintaining a safe zone of clearance around fire hydrants. By doing so, you save time that it could take firefighters to locate an obstructed hydrant and get water on a fire.   Just a few minutes spent looking for a fire hydrant can make a big difference in the outcome.

Here are some reminders:

  • Keep posts, fences, vehicles, shrubbery and vegetative growth, trash, storage, and other materials or objects at least 36 inches clear all the way around from fire hydrants.
  • When firefighters arrive on the scene of a fire, they have only minutes, sometimes seconds, to protect life and property.  It is very important that they have full unobstructed access to fire hydrants and connections.   
  • Landscaping as simple as shrubbery and objects as common as a garbage cart can block immediate access to fire hydrants and connections. 
  • The Municipal Code, City of Portland, Title 16L Vehicles and Traffic denotes that vehicles are not to be parked within 10 feet of a fire hydrant in any location.  It does not have to be posted by signs or by a yellow curb.

Questions?  Contact Portland Fire & Rescue at (503) 823-3700 or the Portland Water Bureau at (503) 823-7404.

November 16, 2009