Parkrose cobbler store burns; other shops damaged

See the damage that this blaze caused at a long-established firm. And learn how other businesses, not directly touched by the fire, are now also suffering the consequences of the conflagration …

Portland Fire & Rescue crews work both on the roof and inside the building, to contain the early-morning blaze that spread rapidly through the connecting attic space. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At 2:15 a.m., in the middle of a cold, blustery night on November 19, the crew at Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Station 2 on NE 122nd Avenue heard their fire bell sound and the dispatcher’s voice sending them to a commercial fire.

The firefighters rolled up to “Parkrose Shoe Hospital” at 10424 NE Sandy Boulevard. “Responders found a working fire in a commercial structure,” PF&R spokesman Paul Corah told us. “Several businesses are in the same building, sharing a common attic, which allows fire to spread quickly.”

Because the fire, if left unchecked, might race into adjacent businesses, the Battalion Chief at the scene called for a “second alarm” eleven minutes later.

The crew from PF&R Engine 12 arrives to examine the fire scene.

As they talk with building owners and managers, firefighters learn more about the damage to the building.

“A ‘first alarm’ sends four engines and two trucks to the scene of a fire,” explained Corah. “A ‘second alarm’ brings four additional engines and two additional trucks, as well as support units, which provide extra air bottles for breathing apparatus.”

But, because of the firefighters from PF&R Station 2 aggressively attacked the blaze, both from the roof and from within the shoe repair shop, the raging fire was quickly extinguished, Corah added, and the second alarm crews were shortly returned to quarters.

When we arrived at the scene on the morning afterward, no fire damage was visible from the street, but the unmistakable odor of a recent structure fire still hung in the crisp morning air.

Other crew members from Engine 12 take a look at a rear window, opened during the fire earlier in the morning.

The damage to “Parkrose Shoe Hospital”, a longtime business in the neighborhood, appears to be extensive.

PF&R Engine 12 rolled up to the scene while we were there, and the crew got out to examine the damage. A Bureau fire investigator poked and prodded through the charred rubble in an effort to determine the fire’s cause.

Thanks to the quick response, and able work of firefighters, other businesses in the building were relatively unscathed by the fire itself, but there was collateral damage.

Business owner works to salvage lost business

Alicia Boyer stood at the door of her business, Platinum Black Salon, looking rather gloomy. Her hair styling shop is located in the same building as Parkrose Shoe Hospital.

Boyer had a bag of cleaning supplies in hand. “I got here about 3:30 a.m. this morning, after the fire marshal called. Firefighters knocked out the glass in my front door to get in. They knocked the lock off an office door, and there’s a hole in the ceiling of our break room area.”

When she got that early-morning call, Boyer said she thought her shop had burned to the ground. “Now that I see it, it’s still pretty bad.”

Alicia Boyer, owner of Platinum Black Salon, Barber Shop and Nails, says she’s hopeful her shop can soon again be serving clients.

In general, the salon looked as if it were ready to open for business. However, “All of our stuff is covered in soot,” Boyer said. “And, it still smells like smoke in here.”

While we talked, the tense look on Boyer’s relaxed a little when the electricity in her shop flicked back on. “Maybe we can still serve some of our clients this afternoon.”

The closure is hurting her businesses, Boyer said. “All of our stylists have lost clients today. We’re usually heavily booked on Fridays, especially before the Holidays.”

But Boyer said she was appreciative that the firefighters kept the blaze from spreading and wiping out her business. “We still have people who want their hair done today.”

Reportedly, according a representative of the building’s owner, the fire was caused by a sparks from a machine. PF&R Investigators have yet to release the results of their inquiry; a damage estimate has yet to be set.

> We thank Dick Harris for his great photography – his image graces our cover page for this story.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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