March 21, 2020 12:15
1) At 11:49pm on Friday (03-20-2020) night, Portland Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to a reported fire at 101st and SE Clinton. Upon arrival, firefighters saw smoke and fire from the windows and roof from a boarded-up house. There were initial reports that people may be occupying the house. Crews performed a search while extinguishing the fire and found it to be vacant. There were no injuries on this fire and the cause is under investigation.
2) At 11:51pm, another fire was reported at the Portland Towers Apartments, in NW Portland. This building is a 13-story residential high-rise that does not have a fire sprinkler system. Upon arrival fire crews could see fire coming out of an apartment window on the 8th floor. Crews found fire burning throughout this apartment that originated in the kitchen. A fire in this type of building is very challenging and requires many more units to respond on the initial alarm than a house fire, as all fire hoses and equipment must be carried up the stairwell by firefighters and search and rescue must be performed on multiple floors in conjunction with fire extinguishment. As a result, a second alarm was called quickly to provide the needed additional staffing--bringing approximately 60 total fire responders to the scene--and to ensure residents were protected. Extensive smoke spread throughout 8th and 9th floors of the building; this smoke was ventilated out of the building after the fire in the apartment was extinguished. Smoke detectors in the building activated and alerted residents to evacuate, however several residents on the 8th floor had to shelter in place due to the smoke in that hallway inhibiting egress from their apartments. Additionally, firefighters contacted many of the residents in their apartments on the 1st through 6th floors and had them shelter in place until the fire was extinguished on the 8th floor.
Six residents of the building were transported by ambulance to area hospitals, all with smoke inhalation and one with burns. Fortunately, no patients had life threatening injuries and no firefighters were injured. All occupants of the 8th and 9th floors needed relocation. The Red Cross, building management and PF&R are working extremely well together to assist with relocation. The cause of this fire is under investigation.
Fire crews were released from the scene approximately two hours later.
In 1990 a fire in this same building, also on the 8th floor, almost killed two firefighters who became separated from their crews and ran out of air.
3) At 12:27am, (03-21-2020) approximately 30 mins after the initial alarm to Portland Towers, a third fire was reported on 55th and SE Francis. This was a small cooking fire that was extinguished quickly. No injuries occurred as result of this fire. Because many of Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chiefs were already working at previous fires, this fire required a Gresham Battalion Chief to assist in our efforts.
Portland Fire & Rescue and its inter-agency partners are continuing to work hard and dedicate themselves to the needs of community, despite the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.