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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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Portland Fire Releases Cause, Loss Value of Great Northwest Bookstore Fire


Posted: May 21st, 2010 4:47 PM


Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) fire investigators announced today that the cause of the fire at the Great Northwest Bookstore - located at 3314 SW 1st Avenue - has been determined as unintentional with an unknown ignition source. As a result of the investigation, investigators now estimate the loss of property and contents to be over $600,000. A smoke alarm was present, but believed not to be in good working order.


Investigators determined that the fire originally started in a basement room. The fire had extended into concealed wall spaces and was well developed by the time the first crews arrived at 2:12 pm on May 2, 2010. The 108-year-old building housed the Great Northwest Bookstore and had originally served as a church.

PF&R investigators credit the initial responding companies for deploying firefighting tactics that saved structures outside of the building. When fire companies arrived, they encountered two buildings in close proximity to the fire building, which were threatened by the fire. A 3rd alarm was called at 2:53 pm; bringing a total of 96 firefighters to the scene.

Portland Fire & Rescue reminds community members to make sure they have smoke alarms in good working order in their homes and businesses. Smoke alarms can save lives and early detection can prevent excessive fire damage.

Contact Info: Kim Kosmas, pager 503-940-6003