Portland Fire & Rescue responded to reports of the smell of smoke in the vicinity of a commercial structure at 1202 SE 82nd Avenue at 8:21 p.m. on March 26. Firefighters from SE Portland's Station 19 were first on scene in less than four minutes.
As firefighters searched for the source of the smoke, flames became visible from the roof of the structure - a cinder block storage unit facility that spanned an entire block. Small explosions were also heard inside the building.
At 8:37 p.m., flames which engulfed the roof necessitated the incident commander to order fire crews off the roof for their safety and to take a defensive attack. The commander then called for a second alarm bringing more firefighters, engines, and trucks to the scene.
While firefighters sprayed water from aerial turrets on multiple fire trucks, firefighters on the ground began going from storage unit to storage unit, cutting opening doors and spraying water on the fire. At 9:46 p.m.,the roof began collapsing in portions of the structure as firefighters continued attacking the blaze from the air.
"A passerby called this fire in saying the air smelled like a campfire. Minutes later it grew into a second alarm," said Public Information Officer Tommy Schroeder. "This shows the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately if you believe there is a fire because seconds count."
A rehab unit was called to the scene with additional air bottles and supplies for firefighters battling this large blaze. Two fire investigators who are investigating the fire's cause.
Now that the fire has been stopped, firefighters will assume a secondary mission - property conservation. With five fire trucks spraying 1,500 gallons of water per minute on this fire, there is now eight inches of standing water in the storage complex.
In addition to monitoring for hot spots, firefighters are clearing drains and mechanically pumping out water in an effort to salvage property.
Just two hours prior to this fire, firefighters from Station 19 concluded a 100th anniversary community open house.