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BBQ May Have Caused Challenging Fire In SW Portland Hills (Photo)

This morning at 1:17 a.m., SW Portland crews were alerted to a house fire in the 900 block of SW Rivington Dr. Before arriving to the scene, approaching fire crews noted seeing a column of fire and smoke on the SW Portland slope, in the area they were headed. Upon arrival, the crew quickly assessed multiple factors including narrow streets, sloped terrain, size of the home, and proximity of other homes as reasons to trigger a second alarm request.   The second alarm also provided an additional compliment of fire engines and ladder trucks that would be critical to accessing the fire that was enveloping the rear of the home and growing. The two adult occupants were startled to discover a large ball of fire at the rear of the home extending into the attic spaces. None of the smoke alarms were triggered to alert the occupants early on because the fire originated from a source outside the home; a combination of factors that often can be deadly this early in the morning. Fortunately, the two occupants were able to escape into a garage and eventually to a neighbor’s home for temporary shelter as the smoke level began to drop inside the house.

The size of the fire made it impossible for crews to go inside the home. Instead ladder trucks extended several feet above the roofline and showered water down to areas firefighters could not access with the steep slope. Ladder Truck 4, of the PSU district, can be seen in included photos with their ladder pipe deployed. Truck 4 is one of several companies praised by command staff for making key early decisons that prevented this fire from extending to adjacent structures.The threat to nearby homes was under control within the first hour but most crews were still engaged in firefighting efforts until 6:00 a.m. Meanwhile, some crews remained on-site throughout the day to cool hot spots. Fire Investigators at the scene determined that a gas BBQ located on the back deck was key to how this fire started. The homeowner explained that he may have left it on inadvertently and went to bed the night before. According to Fire Investigators, the area of the home that was damaged the most and initial reports of the fire’s location seemed to match the homeowner’s explanation regarding the BBQ.

“I can only imagine how difficult this must be for this family.” said Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone while surveying the damage early this morning. “I am thankful that everyone made it out safely and I’m proud of the work our crews did under difficult circumstances to keep this fire from spreading to nearby homes.”

Fire investigators believe the fire resulted in over $1,000,000 in damage.



Portland Fire & Rescue would like to remind residents that as we approach the warm summer months, we need to make sure our activities are being done safely. If you plan to use a gas BBQ please remember the following:

  • Place your grill away from combustible surfaces. This includes the exterior wall of your home, roof overhang and plants & vegetation.
  • Keep your grill clean. Check the grease trap before each use.
  • Never leave your BBQ on and unattended.
  • For more info NFPA grill safety link

Posted on Fri, 22 May 2020 06:21:00 GMT

Portland Fire & Rescue Tech Rescue Team Responds to Hand Entrapment (Photo)

At 11:09 a.m. today, Station 22 and a Battalion Chief were dispatched to a semi-truck auto shop at 7201 N Marine Dr. for a worker whose hand was trapped in the frame of a tractor. When the dispatched crews arrived, they found a worker sitting on the tail end of a tractor near the trailer connection; one hand was wedged in the metal frame just above the wrist. As the crews assessed the situation and provided supportive care, information was being relayed to the Tech Rescue Team responding from Station 1 and 12. The Tech Rescue Team is a group of 16 firefighters who are cross-trained to provide rescue support to situations that require the use of special tools and protocols (confined space, rope, machinery, etc.).  Due to the severity of entrapment a surgical team from OHSU was also consulted regarding the possibility of a field amputation. This would later be determined unnecessary.  

Several options were considered by the team in order to free the hand. Eventually it was decided that a powerful torch cutting tool, called a plasma cutter, would be used to cut several inches of thick steel. Due to his experience with this type of tool, an auto shop co-worker who had volunteered made the difficult cut. Station 22 firefighters deployed hose lines to protect the worker in case the plasma cutter, which burns at over 2,000 degrees, possibly caught any nearby materials on fire. Tech Rescue Team members then used a hydraulic rescue tool called the ram to spread the semi frame apart. To prevent the metal from closing back again another team slowly pounded wooden wedges into the space created.

Just over an hour and a half later, at 12:41 p.m., the worker was freed. He was then loaded onto a gurney by paramedics from American Medical Response and taken to the Trauma Team at Legacy Emanuel Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his hand and wrist.

“This was an amazing display of smart firefighters and co-workers here working through a complex problem. I am so impressed with our team’s ability to create a good outcome with so many things working against them.” said Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Ryan Johnson. “Our awards committee will be hearing about this co-worker today!” he said, referring to the complicated cutting process.

Below is a link to a short video clip of the rescue. Lt. Andy Clark of the Tech Rescue Team is seen explaining the rescue:  Tech Rescue Video Link

Posted on Thu, 14 May 2020 06:19:16 GMT

Portland and Gresham Fire Crews Respond to a Commercial Fire (15800 block SE Division) (Photo)

5/8/2020-This afternoon at 4:00 PM firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue and Gresham Fire and Emergency Services responded to a fire in a business on the 15800 block of SE Division St. in Portland. When crews arrived they found fire throughout the first floor of "A Bead Source" the business housed at the location. Firefighters needed to "soften the building" meaning, use tools to remove bars from windows and to break open doors. This tactic provided access and made the structure safe for firefighters operating inside.

Fire teams operating inside the business noted a large amount of fire, high heat and heavy smoke. The crews were able to extinguish most of the fire within 20 minutes. A fire investigator was called to determine the cause of this fire and crews remained on scene looking for hot spots for another 45 minutes. Division Street was closed in the area for a short time but is now reopened.

The fire investigator has determined that this fire started accidentally on the outside of the building in barkdust and spread into the interior. PF&R reminds you that as the weather gets warmer and more dry, fire danger increases. Please take care.

Posted on Sat, 09 May 2020 02:01:19 GMT

New Updates and Uses for Symptom Checker Website

Today, the team responsible for (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Columbia Counties) have some exciting announcements that will make the website useful for those who will be returning to work or traveling in public in the coming weeks or months. The website was officially launched on April 8th of this year in anticipation of a large volume of potential coronavirus patients flooding our area 911 system and emergency rooms.

Thanks to our current and successful stay at home effort lead by Governor Kate Brown, the surge of patients has not happened. With over 30,000 uses of, there is potential for the website to help those who are returning to work over the next weeks and month. Dr. Jon Jui, medical director for Multnomah Counties Emergency Medical System and an emergency room physician, says “The website continues to provide important information to people concerned they may have symptoms of coronavirus. With the addition of the OHSU Nurse Triage program, if people are following the direction the site gives them, we have more people seeking help that need it and staying home if they don’t. This is a win for patients and our medical system.”

The website is a symptom checker. After entering your age and zip code (the only identifiable information required), the site asks a series of questions regarding your symptoms and medical history. Based on your answers, the site provides you an assessment of your risk to coronavirus and suggests you seek help by way of location-based emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. Additional resources such as and now OHSU Nurse Triage are provided to those with moderate and mild symptoms.

The website is a variation of which was created by Vital Software based out of Atlanta, Georgia as a collaborative project with the Emory School of Medicine. It has been approved by the CDC as a coronavirus symptom checker and has been used just under 1 million times in over 20 countries worldwide. The website is separate project that involves Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Columbia Counties. All other Oregon counties can use the site as a symptom checker but only the counties mentioned above provide specific direction including the location-based emergency rooms, urgent clinics,, and OHSU Nurse Triage.

Today’s updates include: 

  1. The Oregon Health & Science University has agreed to partner with to provide full access, through the website, to their nurse triage line. This will provide an added layer of information for those categorized by the Coronavirus Checker into the moderate and mild risk categories.’s goal is to provide resources to ALL area community members. The new OHSU triage line is a free service and language assistance is available. Registered Nurses provide one-on-one advice to patients from 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week via a confidential, secure telephone connection which they will be provided at the end of their Coronavirus Check assessment.                                                                                                         
  2. All data collected is being shared publicly.  A new public facing dashboard allows open access to data. You can find the dashboard here data dashboard link. This data includes the age and zip code of the individuals filling out the checker and what outcomes the site is producing for users. This data will help spot trends and trace areas of widespread infection.
  3. The advertising campaign has arrived, and it’s translated into multiple languages to match the website. It’s all being offered below for the media and community to share. Help us get the word out and connect with the people who need it! The City of Portland will also being working on outreach to specific cultural communities who might benefit from this tool.
  4. A return to work policy is important for local companies to prevent a second wave of mass coronavirus infection. The makers of are encouraging Portland metro residents to use the website to confirm you are/are not having symptoms common to coronavirus. “Identifying and isolating potentially infectious workers is an essential part of safely resuming work during the era of COVID-19. Self-screening for symptoms of coronavirus is a cornerstone of the multifaceted approach to reduce disease transmission. Organizations that do this well will have a safer healthier workforce and build confidence in their customers.”

Here is the English and translated versions of the 30 second commercial:




Chinese Cantonese

Chinese Mandarin












Linked by Dropbox:

Posted on Mon, 04 May 2020 20:17:35 GMT


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