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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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Station 1 Stages High Angle Rope Rescue Drill at Rocky Butte

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Once a year, the members of Station 1 (Old Town) hold a high angle rope rescue drill at Rocky Butte for crew members.  The definition of a high angle rope rescue is that the terrain has a slope angle of 60 degrees and higher where the rescuers are totally dependent upon the ropes used to keep them (and victims) from falling.  It also entails gaining access to an egress from the rescue location.  Across from the City Bible Church on Rocky Butte Road, there is a path that leads to many sheer rock faces with drops of 40 or more feet.  This has been the location of frequent falls and fatalities for people who are using the trail for recreational purposes at all times day and night.  On average, Station 1 is called four to five times in a year for a rope rescue at this location.  A rescue of this nature requires all 12 members of the station to respond due to the need for resources, but also because of the high technical aspect of the rescue.  The firefighters work together to complete the rescue working safely as a team. 

As one might expect with a rope rescue drill, there are a lot of different rope systems that are set up as well as a lot of equipment such as carabineers, pulleys, and harnesses just to name a few.  This particular drill featured one of the new specialty rescue tools that Station 1 has for use called the Vortex.  The Vortex is a very versatile piece of equipment that can be used for below grade rescue, confined spaces, and high angle rescue over any type of ledge.  With the ability to be set up as a tripod, bipod, and monopod at all different angles and heights, this tool can make the recovery effort of a fall victim safer and more efficient for responders.  Using the equipment mentioned, the members of Station 1 simulated a patient that had fallen 40 feet from a rock face to a rocky ledge below.  Like any complicated rescue, the firefighters made sure to move with a purpose, but not rush while continuously double checking all knots and hook ups before moving on to the next phase of the rescue.  Once a main line, safety line, Vortex, and 4 to 1 haul system were set to large trees used as anchors, the rescuer below on the ledge with the victim hooked himself and the victim (who was in a rescue skid) up to the rope system and they were ready to be hauled up.  The haul system being used was a 4 to 1 system meaning for every four feet you pull on the rope it moves what is being hauled one foot vertical, as well as giving the haul team a mechanical advantage.


This type of drill is critical to keeping firefighters' skills honed.  This drill also provided an opportunity to learn to use a new tool that will help save lives in the future.  All members involved worked as a team to accomplish one goal, and although every rescue is different with the strategies and tactics, it demonstrated that Portland firefighters are prepared to respond to a multitude of different types of emergency rescues in the Portland area.   


NEWS RELEASE 08/03/12: Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to Morning Apartment Fire

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August 3, 2012

9:41 AM

Portland Fire & Rescue was dispatched to Trenton Terrace Apartments (4720 N. Trenton St.) at 6:48 AM with reports of a fire in a second floor unit. This was of particular concern to responders because Trenton Terrace is a rental complex for seniors. Engine 26 (Portsmouth) arrived within minutes and quickly formulated a plan to not only extinguish the fire, but to assure that all of the residents were either evacuated or sheltered in a safe place.

Station 22 (St Johns), Station 8 (Kenton), and Engine 24 (Swan Island) arrived shortly thereafter and methodically started the process of rescue, ventilation, and excess water removal. The units are supplied with an automatic sprinkler system which help contain the fire to one room.

The cause of the fire is linked to careless cigarette extinguishment. Cigarettes remain the number 1 cause of fires and fire fatalities. 45 % of fire fatalities are caused by cigarette related incidents... the second most cause is heating equipment malfunction at 8%. Additionally, fires caused by cigarette smoking produce about 6,000 injuries a year.

Trenton Terrace does 2 fire drills a year. This no doubt aided in there being zero injuries reported during this fire.

Response info: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 2 Chiefs

NEWS RELEASE 08/04/12: Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to a House Fire (5637 SE Knight St.)

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August 4, 2012

10:00 PM

This evening at 7:00pm Portland Firefighters were called to a house on fire at 5637 SE Knight St. When they arrived firefighters from Portland's Station 25 (Woodstock) found heavy fire on the houses back side. Neighbors (who'd called 911) were unsure if the occupants were safely out of the house or not.

Firefighters immediately began searching the house for occupants and extinguishing the fire. The search revealed that the homes residents weren't at home at the time of the fire. The flames were quickly extinguished and the fire damage was contained to the rear portion of the house. The house did however suffer significant smoke damage throughout.

This fire was complicated by the days high temperatures. Heat exhaustion is a very real danger and fire commanders are forced to call for additional resources to avoid overtaxing firefighters. A firefighter in full gear can weigh an additional 90 lbs and the fire resistant clothing traps body heat.

Fire investigators stated that this fire was caused by smokers carelessness. Damage to the single story home is estimated at $50,000. The homes residents (who are renters) will be unable to stay in the house. It is not known at this time if they will need the assistance of the Red Cross for shelter.

Portland Fire & Rescue reminds residents to dispose of burning materials in a safe manner, using a bucket of water or a metal container stored away from combustibles.

Help Portland Fire & Rescue FILL THE BOOT to Send Children to MDA Camp!

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On August 8th  and 9th Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters will be located at West Burnside and 23rd Avenue, as well as SE 122nd and Stark from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. trying to fill up fire boots with donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  The money raised will go to pay for children with Muscular Dystrophy to attend an annual week-long summer camp. 

The cost associated with one camper to attend the camp is $800 so every bit helps.  All you need to do to help is go by one of the locations, and help fill the boot with a donation of your choosing.  The firefighters will be easy to see dressed in their turnout pants, helmets, and holding a fire boot ready to run up and receive your donation. 


NEWS RELEASE 08/06/12: Portland Fire & Rescue Responds to Multiple Accidents on Interstate Highways

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August 6, 2012

4:50 PM

At 3:11 pm, Portland firefighters were dispatched to reports of a traffic accident involving three vehicles on Southbound I-205 near Killingsworth. Upon arrival, firefighters from Portland Fire Station 2 (Parkrose) used specialized rescue tools carried on the ladder truck to begin the process of extricating two patients from one of the three vehicles. A third patient also required medical attention in another vehicle.

All three patients were treated at the scene by Portland firefighter/paramedics and transported to area hospitals. Their conditions are unknown at this time. Photos are attached to this release.

This traffic accident occurred just 14 minutes after another accident, involving an overturned semi-truck, took place on Southbound I-5 at Columbia at 2:58 pm. No photos are available.

Photos courtesy of Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue.