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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Always Ready, Always There

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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Meet and Greet at Commissioner Leonard's Office

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Commissioner Randy Leonard

PF&R's Accelerant Detection Canine Lila

Lila, Portland Fire & Rescue’s Accelerant Detection Canine, and her handler, Lieutenant Jackson, stopped by Commissioner Randy Leonard’s office for a quick meet and greet this morning.  Lila nosed her way around his office, greeting his staff and ensuring all was well. 

Click here to read Commissioner Leonard’s blog and see more pics of him and Lila!  

PF&R's Accelerant Detection Canine Lila

More Information about Lila

Lila, a black Labrador retriever, joined PF&R and now works with an arson investigator. Lila was trained at the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Accelerant Detection Canine Program. After several months in the program, she met her handler, Lieutenant Jackson. Lieutenant Jackson and Lila trained together in Front Royal, Virginia, for an additional six weeks – seven days a week – before they began working together at PF&R.

Lila, whose official title is “Accelerant Detection Canine,” is conditioned to associate food with successfully detecting hydrocarbons. Lila is very much a food-motivated canine, so it didn’t take her long to catch on. At the end of her training, a chemist certified that Lila can tell the difference between a variety hydrocarbon scents in the small quantities necessary to start fires. This certification is crucial because evidence uncovered by canines and their handlers can be a key point in criminal and civil trials.

Arson canines can be instrumental in the investigation of fire scenes. Trained to detect and alert to microliters of petroleum-based fuels, Lila’s nose can make the difference between determining the cause of a fire or not. Accelerant canines have had better results detecting accelerants than electronic detection devices. Although hydrocarbon detectors can be quite sensitive, accelerant canines can pinpoint traces of accelerants at levels lower than the detectors can register. Additionally, detectors do not discriminate between burned petroleum-based items normally found at a fire scene, like foam cushions, and items that might contain an ignitable liquid. Accelerant canines can, and do, detect those differences.

Accelerant canines also save time and resources at a fire scene. What might take an hour of fire-scene process time can take only minutes with a trained canine assistant. In some cases, the fire damage is so severe that burn patterns are obliterated. Even in a total burn out, the canine is able to detect trace evidence left behind.

It should be noted that, while Accelerant Detection Canines are valuable tools in arson investigation, they can not and do not replace the need for thorough and experienced fire investigators and crime labs. The canines can only point to evidence, not determine cause and process. Nonetheless, working collaboratively with a professional fire investigator, a properly trained canine investigator team is the best tool available to find trace evidence of ignitable liquids.

PF&R obtained Lila through a partnership with the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). As a part of the ATF’s national response team, Lila and her handler can be deployed to major events anywhere in the country.

Since Lila came to work for PF&R, she and Lieutenant Jackson have been quite active. Positive alerts from Lila are collected as evidence by Lieutenant Jackson and sent to the Oregon State Forensic lab chemist for confirmation. Lila has an extremely high percentage of alerts coming back as confirmed positive. She has responded to scenes where destructive devices (Molotov cocktails) were used on both residences and motor vehicles, fire-related suicides, fatal fires, and intentional fires with the use of accelerants and initiators. Lila has also preformed vehicle and people searches.

December 3, 2009


NEWS RELEASE 12/04/09: Dust Explosion at Land O'Lakes

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Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded at approximately 8:30 pm on December 4, 2009 to reports of an explosion and smoke from the main tower on the third floor at Land O' Lakes, located on N. Simmons Road.  Crews arrived on scene and upon investigation, firefighters discovered a machine on the third floor referred to as a "corn cracker" that had caused a "dust explosion."  There were also three "explosion panels" that were blown off of the building due to the event.  Fortunately, no employees where in the area when the incident occurred.

Earlier in the day, employees had been performing maintenance on the machinery. The purpose of the "corn cracker" is to mix hot and cold material, then transfer it onto a conveyer belt that carries it to different areas and levels throughout the building.  When the machine overheated, it caused a dust explosion which threw embers throughout the area and traveled into five different silos that were partially full of material.

Fire crews worked efficiently over the next two hours locating and extinguishing "hot spots" throughout the structure and all five silos. Land O' Lakes plant personnel were a great asset in assisting Portland Fire with the abatement of the incident.

The losses are as follows:

  • Building is worth - $25 million
  • $50,000.00 in equipment damage
  • $5,000.00 in material

Total Loss (including time loss) - $100,000.00


  • 4 Engines
  • 2 Trucks
  • 1 Fire Boat
  • 3 Chiefs
  • 27 PF&R Personnel responded to this incident 

December 4, 2009

Winter 2009 Award Ceremony

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Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Winter 2009 Award Ceremony was held Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Training Center on NE 122nd.   

PF&R’s Awards Committee previously evaluated nominations for awards submitted from internal employees and external sources and recommended the degree of recognition to Fire Chief John Klum.  The Awards Committee is chaired by a battalion chief and composed of not less than four line representatives, the Public Information Officer (PIO), the staff captain from Battalion Headquarters (BHQ), an officer from Logistics, a member of the Prevention Division, and a non-sworn employee.

The committee provides recognition to:

  • Persons who have made an outstanding contribution to PF&R and/or the community, or performed any actions which promote the well being or betterment of the fire service in general.
  • Persons who have performed unselfish acts, often above and beyond the call of duty or the expected, to help others. This may or may not include possible harm or risk to one’s own well-being.

PF&R awards are not reserved exclusively for firefighters, but may be presented to any deserving individuals.

The following awards and promotions were celebrated:



  • Letter of Recognition:  Grant Coffey
  • Letter of Appreciation:  Lieutenant Matthew Silva
  • Letter of Appreciation: Firefighter Lisa Knight
  • Letter of Commendation: Firefighter Casey Steele
  • Fire Chief’s Certificate: Staff of Blue Moon Tavern
  • Certificate of Merit: Katelin Olson, Josh Spencer, Cary Kutler
  • Medal of Honor: David Haas, Cheryl Robb
  • Certificate of Merit: Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Peter Simpson
  • Certificate of Merit: Principal Lana Penley and Staff


  • Douglas Jones:  Assistant Fire Marshal
  • Douglas Friant:  Senior Inspector
  • Richard Stenhouse:  Battalion Chief
  • Glen Geiger:  Inspector
  • John Harkness:  Inspector
  • Jeff Herman:  Inspector
  • Ron Rouse:  Inspector
  • Mark Furiya:  Harbor Pilot


                                              Photo 1                                                               Photo 2


                                             Photo 3                                                                   Photo 4


                                             Photo 5                                                                             Photo 6

Photo 1:  PF&R's Honor Guard

Photo 2:  Fire Chief John Klum shaking newly appointment Assistant Fire Marshal Doug Jones' hand

Photo 3:  Fire Chief John Klum awarding Hazardous Materials Coordinator Grant Coffey a Letter of Recognition

Photo 4:  Fire Commissioner Randy Leonard and Fire Chief John Klum awarding Katelin Olson a Certificate of Merit

Photo 5:  Fire Commissioner Randy Leonard and Fire Chief John Klum awarding David Haas and Chery Robb a Medal of Honor

Photo 6:  Fire Commissioner Randy Leonard and Fire Chief John Klum awarding Marysville Elementary School Principal Lana Penley and Staff a Certificate of Merit

December 4, 2009