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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: PLEASE Be Careful With Heaters and Fireplaces!


Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to four MORE house fires on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.  Three of the four were related to the cold weather.  All of the fires were a single alarm which brings four engines, one truck, one rescue unit, 27 to 30 firefighters, two chiefs, and two investigators.  Due to the extreme weather, a "Rehab Unit" was called for each fire.  The Rehab Unit brings all the necessary tools and space to effectively monitor and care for firefighters health on scene.

At this time no injuries were reported at any of the fires.

At 0808: Crews responded to NE Morris on the report of a garage fire.  First-arriving crews found an attached garage involved in heavy fire, which was extending into the attic of the house. Total Value: $205,000 with a loss of $100,000. Cause: Overloaded electrical wiring which attached to a heat lamp in a chicken coop by the garage.

At 1152: Crews responded to NE 43rd on the report of a residential fire. Crews quickly knocked down an exterior fire. Value/Loss undetermined at this time.  Cause: Propane Heater too close to siding of house. The heater was being used to keep pipes from freezing.

At 1344: Crews responded to NE Church on the report of a residential fire.  Crews found a 1 1/2 story residence with a large volume of fire showing.  The fire did heavy damage to the house. Value/Loss undetermined at this time.  Cause: Combustible materials too close a portable heater.

At 1647: Crews responded to NE 107th Place. Crews found a one-story residence with dark gray smoke coming from the eaves and roof vents.  They found a kitchen fire which extended up the stove vent and into the attic area.  Value: $275,000 with a loss of $25,000.  Cause: overheated cooking oil which ignited.

Safety Tips:

  • Keep combustible materials away from any heating devices: fireplace, wood stove, portable heater, furnace, or electric wall/baseboard heat units.
  • Portable heaters need plenty of space.  Make sure they have an automatic shut off if tipped over.
  • Electric portable heaters should only be plugged into a wall outlet.  DO NOT USE EXTENSION CORDS, especially one which is smaller than the cord on the heater itself.
  • Do not use propane or liquid-fueled heaters indoors, and never leave them running if you are not home.
  • Use a hair dryer to thaw frozen pipes.  Do not use torches or open flame devices to heat the pipes.
  • Never use charcoal-fueled devices to heat your house.  This is an extreme fire danger and gives off carbon monoxide, which is an odorless/tasteless gas and an invisible killer.
  • Never burn plastics or garbage in your fireplace or wood stove. These materials tend to burn quickly and can accelerate the intensity of a fire.
  • Clean you chimney once a year, or sooner if needed, and only burn seasoned fire wood.

December 9, 2009


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