Trash trailer catches fire at East County Recycling

While the risk of the fire spreading to the neighborhood was low, here’s what was behind the past-midnight outbreak of activity at this NE San Rafael Street landmark business, in the Russell Neighborhood on August 19th

Firefighters use multiple streams of water to douse a fire that broke out at East County Recycling.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just after midnight on August 19, crews from Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Station 30 – joined by Truck 2’s firefighters, converged on East County Recycling at 12409 NE San Rafael Street, responding to reports of a blazing trailer.

While the fire was down in the lowest level of the facility – far below street level – firefighters were concerned that the fire would light up other trailers parked nearby.

Firefighters rush to extinguish the blaze, in an attempt to keep it from spreading to other trailers parked nearby.

Their efforts were complicated by having to first run a hose line from the south side of NE San Rafael Street to the north side – then down two long driveways, into the main yard – and finally to the far north wall, where the row of trailers were located.

Firefighters made quick progress fighting the visible fire with multiple streams of water. But, since the burning trash collector was loaded nearly to the top, the fire crews saw that the fire had spread down into the load.

Using a “piercing nozzle”, PF&R Truck 2 firefighters inject a fine mist of water – flowing at up to 250 gallons a minute – into the smoldering load.

“In total, the crews of two engines, one truck, a chief, and an investigator, responded to the fire called in regarding the 50′ open-top aluminum trailer,” PF&R spokesperson Tommy Schroeder later told us.

“The ignition material was recycling materials, and the cause was determined to be spontaneous ignition. The fire investigator listed it as ‘unintentional’ in nature,” Schroeder concluded.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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