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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 09/08/12: Press Release on the Thunderbird Hotel Fire


September 8, 2012

Investigators from Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) and the ATF National Response Team (NRT) have completed the first phase of the investigation; which is the processing of the fire damage at the hotel.   

In any fire loss, a thorough investigation is undertaken by those who are tasked with the responsibility of determining the cause of the fire.  The Thunderbird Fire in Portland is no exception. Portland Fire & Rescue's Fire Investigation Unit was charged with this responsibility and realized the significance and magnitude of the incident.  Portland Fire & Rescue, taking the lead role, requested the assistance of the ATF local agents, combined with the National Response Team.  This combination of resources provided the necessary expertise to tackle this formidable incident.

The investigation at the Thunderbird Hotel began on 9/2/2012 and has undergone a methodical process since its onset.  A combination of investigators from Portland Fire & Rescue, ATF and other agencies worked as a cohesive unit to systematically examine the entire scene.

For several days you have seen this team at the fire scene performing their duties. They also had heavy equipment and fire apparatus assisting in the process.  After today you may note that the scene no longer has personnel actively examining it.  This does not mean that this investigation is over, however.  

An investigation into an incident of this magnitude often takes a longer period of time.   The process involves more than just processing the evidence at the fire scene.  It also includes thoroughly interviewing the witnesses and examining the photographs and all other evidence. One phase is now completed, but another phase has been going on since the arrival of the first fire apparatus to the scene.  This will continue for as long as it takes to identify and follow up on all pieces of information that are related to this fire.

At this time, there is not a determination as to how this fire began.  That will be determined based on all the relevant facts and information that continue to be investigated by the PF&R and the local ATF agents.

Please direct all questions to:
PF&R Lt. Joseph Troncoso
Direct Cell:  503 209-8335