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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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NEWS RELEASE 12/08/09: Weather Continues to Complicate Response to Residential Fire

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Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters responded to a house fire on SE Taylor Street at just a little after 4:00 am on December 8, 2009. They arrived to find a large older home with fire racing through the inside and coming from the windows in the back. Firefighters learned from neighbors that the house was supposed to be vacant but that there was a lot of transient activity in the recent days. Conditions inside the house were not survivable when firefighters arrived and, because of the instability of the house, no firefighters were allowed to enter. Firefighters battled the fire, the freezing temperatures, and downed power lines in their efforts to control the fire and keep it from spreading to other houses.

Fire investigators were on scene.  Due to the structural damage and instability of the house, the fire investigators will further evaluate the house in the daylight.

PF&R response included:

  • 4 engines
  • 2 trucks
  • 2 chief officers
  • 2 investigators
  • 30 PF&R firefighters

82nd Avenue was closed for about three hours due to water supply hoses crossing the road. Once firefighters had picked up the hoses, the Oregon Department of Transportation was called to spray deicer and spread gravel on the water that had frozen on the road surface. It appears that 82nd Avenue will be open for traffic, both directions, at about 7:00 am.

December 8, 2009

NEWS RELEASE 12/09/09: Carbon Monoxide Blamed for 1 Death and 1 in Critical Condition

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At about 7:15 pm on December 9, 2009, Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters responded to an emergency medical call at SE 12th Avenue. A call to dispatch had reported that two people were down and unresponsive.

Because of the cold weather and the nature of the call, firefighters from Station 1 suspected the patients were suffering from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning so along with their first aid gear they also brought a multi-gas detector. When entering the apartment, the gas detector almost immediately began reading CO and the readings climbed higher as the firefighters climbed the stairs to the apartment above.

Two patients were located in the apartment; one male in his 60's was deceased and one female was barely breathing. Firefighters immediately carried the female out to the street and began advanced life support care. She was loaded quickly into an ambulance and transported to a local hospital where she is in critical condition.

Family members had stopped to visit with the couple, discovered them, and called 911.

CO is called the "silent killer" because it is odorless, tasteless, and you can't see it. Early warning signs are unexplained headache and nausea. It appears at this point that the CO was caused by a natural gas heater that was not properly vented.

Efforts to stay warm in this extremely cold weather can lead to tragedy. Gas appliances should be checked yearly by a professional just like your chimney. Carbon monoxide detectors are relatively inexpensive and can be found in most hardware stores next to the smoke alarms.

December 10, 2009

SafetyTIPS: Heating Safely with Solid Fuels - Chimney, Wood, Coal, and Pellet Stoves

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Heating Safely with Solid Fuels - Chimney, Wood, Coal, and Pellet Stoves

With the rising cost associated with heating homes, there is the temptation to utilize alternative sources of heating. However, be sure not to overlook critical safety issues while using alternative heating sources in your homes.

Proper Use of Wood, Coal, and Pellet Stoves

  • Most chimney fires occur because of a build-up of creosote, a tarry by-product of burning wood. Have your chimney flue cleaned before each heating season. Burn only dry, well seasoned, hardwood to reduce creosote accumulation.  Be sure this wood is cut to the appropriate size to fit completely inside the fire box with the door or screen closed.
  • Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Never use a liquid fueled or propane type heating device indoors.  This type of equipment produces carbon monoxide which is odorless and deadly after exposure for a short period of time.
  • Never leave children unattended near the stove or fireplace.
  • Check that the damper is open before lighting the fire. A closed damper will result in an accumulation of smoke and carbon monoxide in the home. Do not close the damper until the fire is out and the embers are cold.
  • Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out on to the floor.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to provide protection for your family.
  • Follow all manufacturers installation and operating instructions for woodstoves, pellet stoves and fireplace type equipment.  A permit from BDS is required for the installation of all these types of solid fuel burning equipment.

Live Embers

To prevent fires from ashes, ashes that are cleaned out from the stove or fireplace should be shoveled into a metal bucket with a metal lid and placed outside on the ground on a non-combustible surface away from the building. There have been many recent fires from ashes stored underneath a deck or porch or inside the garage or from ashes stored in cardboard boxes. A live ember can continue to smolder unnoticed for quite some time.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Install smoke alarms to warn of a fire, but also have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home to warn about deadly fumes from a faulty furnace, fireplace, and oven flue or other venting problem. Problems with heating systems is the #1 source of carbon monoxide in homes.   

It’s not about saving lives; it’s about saving your life.

December 9, 2009 

Portland Fire & Rescue Is Moving Back to Station 1

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Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Administration Office will close at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2009. Why?  Because PF&R's Administration will be moving from our temporary location at 111 SW Columbia, 6th Floor back to our permanent location at 55 SW Ash Street – Station 1. During the move, Administration phone lines and email will be temporarily unavailable. Citizens are kindly asked to leave a message or contact 9-1-1 in case of a life-threatening emergency. Administration will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 55 SW Ash Street, 3rd Floor.



Station 1

Photos taken on October 20, 2009


Portland Fire & Rescue’s Station 1 has undergone an extensive renovation and seismic upgrade. The work was funded by a bond measure and passed by voters to ensure that all of PF&R's fire stations were structurally safe, ensuring that firefighters and equipment could respond during emergencies. The Administration Office will be the first group to move back to Station 1. Construction work will continue on the 1st and 2nd floors, so visits to Station 1 should be limited between December 14th and January 15th, 2010. Once the work is complete, PF&R’s Bureau Headquarters, the Investigations Unit, and Station 1’s crews and apparatus will return.


Station 1 - View from the Waterfront

Photo taken on October 20, 2009


PF&R's Station 1 will be hosting an Open House in 2010 so that the City staff and the public can visit the newly renovated station. Stay tuned to our website and here on the Fire Blog for further information!


December 9, 2009

NEWS RELEASE 12/11/09: Portland Firefighters Respond to Two House Fires Overnight

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SE 87th:

Just before 1:00 am, firefighters responded to reports of heavy smoke in the basement of a house on SE 87th. On arrival, firefighters made their way through the smoke to find fire extending up a wall and along floor joists. The residents were safely out of the structure and the fire was quickly extinguished but not before doing an estimated $60,000 in damage. The cause of this fire was determined to be a chimney system in need of cleaning and maintenance. Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected annually at the least. "Chimney Cleaning Logs" are no substitute for cleaning and inspection by a professional. Firefighters noted that smoke detectors in good working order helped this young couple to escape safely.

143rd and SE Powell:

At approximately 4:00 am, firefighters responded to a residential fire at 143rd and SE Powell that began on the exterior of a vacant house. When firefighters arrived, they found fire in the basement, on the first floor, and in the finished attic. The fire moved in the concealed spaces between walls making it difficult to control. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring houses. Extinguishing this fire necessitated the closing of 143rd just South of Powell and several blocks of Powell itself. Firefighters from Gresham Fire Department assisted Portland Fire & Rescue with this fire. The investigation of this fire continues and no cause is available yet.

December 11, 2009