On Tuesday, May 16, a dramatic apartment building fire unfolded in the heart of Portland, Oregon, and firefighters saved over a dozen humans and three canines.
At about 10:45 a.m., Portland Fire & Rescue tweeted that they had arrived at the scene and that rescue efforts had begun.
Officials with the fire department stated around noon that firefighters were ordered to retreat for a while as the blaze grew. Officials said crews performed one of multiple checks to ensure all firefighters were accounted for.
On Tuesday, Rick Graves, the fire department’s public information officer, informed The Associated Press that they were sure that everyone had escaped the structure. He speculated that some of the cats might have died.
Photos and video supplied by the fire department showed firefighters assisting inhabitants, including a dog, down ladders as black smoke billowed from the four-story building.
A video of firefighters rescuing residents from a burning apartment building in downtown Portland-
The fire swept through the building, causing several windows to explode. Graves said authorities were worried about the building collapsing or the fire spreading to another nearby building. Large, heavy clouds of smoke could be seen rising above the city.
According to Graves, the fire trucks have been relocated to safer sites if the structure collapses. While on the other side of the roadway, flying glass struck one firefighter in the forehead. Graves said the injury was not serious, and the firefighter returned to the scene.
According to reports, At the fire department’s request, Portland General Electric also shut off power to the area. The central city fire compounded the perils of driving. Low visibility from heavy smoke forced transportation officials to close Interstate 405 for almost two hours, along with surface streets in the immediate neighborhood.
John Rosenthal is a neighbor who lives a few blocks away. He described the constant water flow into the building from the fire hoses. About half a mile away, Blake Stroud’s apartment’s smoke plume was “oscillating between white and dark smoke,” he added.
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“At the bottom of the plume, you could see the flames,” he said. Graves stated that it appears the fire began on the third level and spread to the fourth but that the cause of the fire is yet unknown.
The fire “maxed out” around 1 p.m., according to Graves, although it will continue burning until Wednesday. He said it was doubtful that people would be allowed back into their homes.
Records from the Bureau of Development Services reveal that a complaint was filed against the building late last year, citing the absence of smoke, gas, and carbon monoxide detectors, exposed electrical wires, and “severe leaks” that caused mold and mildew.