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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 07/21/12: Portland Fire & Rescue Responds To Willamette River Water Rescue

July 21, 2012

9:58 AM


At 7:38 am Portland Fire & Rescue responded to a report of a person in the water along the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge. At the time of this incident, Engine 21 (Eastbank/Hawthorne) was responding to a different emergency call. It just so happens that there were 3 off duty firefighters at Station 21 who chose to deploy Rescue Boat 21 thinking they could make a significant difference being so close to the victim. One of the firefighters swam out to the victim (roughly 20 feet) from the east bank of the river while the other 2 firefighters responded with Rescue Boat 21. Once the rescue swimmer reached the victim a member from the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office used a piece of drift wood to help pull the rescue swimmer and victim to shore. At 7:43 am the victim was removed from the river. Members from Station 1 (Old Town) also responded to provide additional support at the scene.

"We're just glad we were still at the station and could lend a hand. All the responders worked as a team and we were able to achieve a positive outcome," said Portland Fire & Rescue Lieutenant Allan Burns.

It is unknown at this time whether or not the victim jumped from the Hawthorne Bridge. The victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the hospital. More information will be given as it becomes available.

Station 21 is on the east side of the river and underneath the Hawthorne Bridge. This station houses a Fire Engine and Rescue Boat for emergencies such as this one. For more information go to