While the gunman’s motives were unclear, taking aim at a Portland Police Bureau officer and cadet led to returned fire. But, it appears, the shooter actually died at his own hands ‚Ķ

Detectives say they learned that issues with his girlfriend led 37-year-old Jerry Goins to approach the Armed Forces Recruiting Station at Eastport Plaza with a loaded gun.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The tranquility of a hot, summer afternoon was broken at 4:17 p.m. on July 19 when shots rang out in front of the Military Recruiting Facility, located in the 4000 block of SE 82nd Ave.

“When I came out of the Eastport Post Office, I heard someone shouting, ‘Drop it! Put it down’. Then, there were several shots,” eyewitness Bill Stapleton told us. “I was quite a distance away, but I could see the smoke from gunshots and what looked like a guy going down. Cops were shouting to people in the area, ‘get down, get down’.”

The man who died on the sidewalk was 37-year-old Jerry Goins. Police detectives said Goins was in the Navy, stationed in California.  They added that Goins had traveled to Portland because he was emotional over his relationship with his girlfriend. At the time of his death, Goins was carrying a loaded pistol and binoculars.

9-1-1 call summons officer
On this sunny afternoon, a 19-year-old Portland Police Cadet was learning about police work, riding along in a patrol car driven by Portland Police Officer Richard Steinbronn.

A moment before 4:00 pm, the officer and cadet were dispatched to the recruiting facility. Someone called 9-1-1 and reported that an armed, suicidal man was coming to see his girlfriend.

Once inside the recruiter’s office, Officer Steinbronn didn’t find the man ‚Äì but he did talk with an individual, reported to be Goins, calling from a cell phone.

The officer and cadet got in their car, preparing to go on their next call. Then they spotted a man who matched Goins’ description walking up to the recruiting facility. And, he was carrying a gun.

Police officers protect the crime scene while investigators work to uncover the exact sequence of events that lead to 37-year-old Jerry Goins’ coming to Eastport Plaza with a loaded gun on July 19.Autopsy confirms suicide

Witnesses told investigators the officer exited his car and repeatedly ordered Goins to drop the handgun.  Ignoring the officer’s orders, Goins turned and raised the weapon toward the officer and cadet. Officer Steinbronn then shot Goins four times, striking him in the mid-section.

After an autopsy, Multnomah County Deputy State Medical Examiner Dr. Clifford Nelson confirmed that none of the wounds from the officer’s gun were immediately fatal. Instead, Nelson said, Goins took his own life with a gunshot wound to his head. Detectives said evidence indicated, and witnesses also attested, that the fatal shot was self-inflicted.

Portland Police Bureau Chief of Police Rosie Sizer confers with a city attorney.

Eastport Plaza manager Ken Turner said he was called back to the shopping center by his security personnel. “We express our condolences and sympathy to relatives, friends and loved ones of Mr. Jerry Goins. And, we appreciate Chief Rosie Sizer and the officers of the police force for how they handled this tragic situation. The officers assured that the public was safe and out of harms way.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Barry Renna at (503) 823-0255 or Detective Mike Geiger at (503) 823-0768.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

This couple had it all planned out: Steal merchandise from the store, run outside and make a clean get-away car. Read why this suspect is now facing some REAL jail time …

The store closed early as police investigate what they called a shoplifting gone bad.

Police gather evidence at the Mall 205 Target store. Police say after he allegedly robbed the store, he stabbed a Target employee while trying to make his getaway. He didn’t get far.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Workers said the warm, Friday night of June 30 was pretty much like any other.

Then, it happened. Target’s Loss Prevention employees contacted 31-year-old Rogelio Perez and 25-year-old Elizabeth Dora Tate as they were leaving the store with what was said to be stolen property.

Perez began to struggle with 26-year-old Trevor Collin and other Target employees. Tate fled the store and hopped into a get-away car in the parking lot. In the midst of what was described as a violent struggle, Collin received a non-life-threatening stab wound to the neck area.

Perez eventually broke free, sprinted to the get-away car and the alleged partners-in-crime sped away.

But, with a description of the car in hand, sharp-eyed East Precinct officers spotted the car within minutes. Officers followed the suspects as they drove into an apartment complex parking lot in the 2300 block of Southeast 111th Avenue.

Portland Police Cadets and officers look for evidence outside the Target store.

Once in the apartment building lot, Perez fled on foot and Tate surrendered. During the subsequent foot pursuit Sergeant Mike Krantz, a 34-year-old 12-year member of the Portland Police Bureau, broke his leg as jumped over a fence.

Rogelio Perez was charged with Robbery in the First Degree and Assault in the Second Degree, and Elizabeth Dora Tate who was charged with Robbery in the First Degree.

Both Collin and Sergeant Krantz are recovering from their injuries.

We couldn’t resist taking this photo ‚Ķ


While other stations were preparing to go on the air with their mobile newsrooms, we snapped this photo of Gary, a veteran news videographer for KOIN-6, discovering his signal was blocked by Mt. Tabor. The other stations’ trucks have very tall, extendable “stinger” masts, high enough to clear obstructions.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The piles of cargo – crushed cars and trucks –
made the crash scene look even more surreal and rescuers try in vain to find victims …

From above, below and beside the wreck, Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Police work swiftly, but carefully, to locate the driver, and any other possible victims.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Members of Portland Fire & Rescue Stations 12 and 2 work diligently ‚Äì and carefully ‚Äì to locate the driver of a semi-truck under the hot afternoon sun. It isn’t easy.

The cab of the truck is smashed between the bridge and its load of crushed vehicles, which shifted forward. The scene testifies to the violent nature of this July 7 crash on Marine Dr. at I-205. A fire bureau spokesperson said they wouldn’t give up until they found either survivors or deceased.

It took massive tow trucks to pull the wreckage back from the bridge to look for survivors – or victims.

Why this horrendous wreck occurred is just not clear…but what happened, is.

Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division’s Lt. Mark Kruger informs us eyewitnesses reported that a truck and trailer stacked with crushed cars was westbound on Marine Drive just before noon on Friday the 7th.

For reasons unknown, the westbound truck veered across the highway at NE 112th Ave., crossing into the eastbound lane and jumping the curb. “We don’t see any skid marks,” Kruger tells us, looking at the pavement. “The driver could have fallen asleep, or had a medical problem ‚Äì we just don’t know.”

The truck and trailer jump the curb at NE 112th Avenue, mow down a wooden utility pole, snapping it off cleanly at the base. The rig continues at break-neck speed up the embankment toward the I-205 onramp bridge from westbound Airport Way.

You can see the front wheels of the truck tractor under the bridge. Authorities say the impact of the crash flattened the cab from the front–then the load shifted forward, crushing the cab from behind.

A traffic officer, walking back from a close-up look, told us, “It’s hard to tell what kind of truck it was. The front wheels went just under the bridge, but the cab didn’t. The load of crushed cars came forward and destroyed the cab.”

Power utility, water and communications workers examine the damaged lines and pipes severed in the collision.

ODOT workers told us they didn’t see any major structural damage to the viaduct, but pipes and conduit just under the lip of the bridge were severed or damaged.

Marine Drive remained closed into the evening hours as the body of the driver was removed from scene, the wreckage was cleared, and repairs to the pipes and conduit made.

The deceased driver was subsequently reported as a 49-year-old man from Caldwell, Idaho.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Looking at these photos, it’s hard to believe anyone survived this crash. But click “more” and learn how this family survived a horrendous crash ‚Ķ

Cops and rescuers agreed – without restraints the occupants of this smashed van would be dead, or seriously injured.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the middle of the afternoon of June 24, a family was driving down SE Foster Road, heading out to do some Saturday afternoon shopping.

As they neared SE 86th Avenue, a hot-shot driver passed against a double yellow line, forcing the van to swerve. It collided with a wooden utility pole with such force, it knocked a transformer loose.

But, at the scene of this horrific wreck, Portland Fire & Rescue workers were standing around, with smiles on their faces. “I know it’s hard to believe, David, but none of the adults, nor children, were injured. They walked away,” a firefighter told us.

Their van was a total loss — the entire front end wiped out. But, they all walked away. As a cop said, “Seat belts do save lives.”

An East Precinct Portland Police officer told us all of the occupants had been wearing safety belts, and the kids were correctly buckled into their car seats. “We say it over and over ‚Äì because it is the truth ‚Äì ‘Seat Belts Save Lives’.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why Portland Police detectives believed the bandit who held up The Cash Store on SE Powell at 32nd Ave. had been a very, very bad boy – and how they caught him …

Far from his Hillsboro home, police say Adam G. Trainor’s crime career ended 70 blocks east of The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd and 32nd Ave. he robbed at gunpoint.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The slender-built man in is middle twenties got out of a green, Honda coupe, pulled the hood of a dark sweatshirt over his head, and strode into The Cash Store at 3234 SE Powell Blvd.

He’d come in for some fast cash on June 17, under the bright, early-afternoon sunlit sky ‚Äì but he wasn’t about to sign for a loan.

He flashed a gun; the clerk gave him money. As the robber hit the door, the clerk called 9-1-1, knowing this criminal transaction had been caught on video.

The report of the broad-daylight robber crackled across the police radio. The Honda was first spotted near SE 60th Powell. It sounded as if the alleged robber slid around a police roadblock. More squad cars joined in the pursuit.

“He stacked it up at 115 and Division,” was the excited call of an officer. We rounded the corner and spotted a half-dozen patrol cars with lights flashing. One of the patrol cars had come to rest on the side lawn of a home, blocking any escape for the green Honda stoped parallel to a back yard fence.

A real-life CSI officer from Portland Police gathers forensic evidence at The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd. after the robbery police, who accuse him of being a “serial bandet”, say Adam G. Trainor,  robbed them on June 17.

Serial robber nabbed
Portland Police spokesman Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed that sequence of events, and also that Adam Gerard Trainor, 25, was arrested for allegedly sticking up The Cash Store using a gun.

“He didn’t give up without a fight,” Dolbey told us. “Trainor decided to fight with our officers. They used a Taser on him to take him into custody.”

Noting Trainor’s method of operation, Portland Police detectives saw similarities to recent gunpoint robberies in Washington County. A young man matching Trainor’s description allegedly previously held up a Subway shop and Hair Masters salon in Sherwood ‚Äì and Beaverton’s Honeycut & Company hair salon ‚Äì within the past weeks.

Sherwood Police Detective Dwight Onchi told us he traveled that evening to Portland’s Justice Center for an interview. “Trainor confessed to the Sherwood robberies. And, he admitted he needed money because he was a heroin addict.”

District Attorneys from both Multnomah and Washington Counties are expected to present the reports and statements to a grand jury for possible indictment.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why Portland Police detectives believed the bandit who held up The Cash Store on SE Powell at 32nd Ave. had been a very, very bad boy – and how they caught him …

Far from his Hillsboro home, police say Adam G. Trainor’s crime career ended 70 blocks east of The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd and 32nd Ave. he robbed at gunpoint.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The slender-built man in is middle twenties got out of a green, Honda coupe, pulled the hood of a dark sweatshirt over his head, and strode into The Cash Store at 3234 SE Powell Blvd.

He’d come in for some fast cash on June 17, under the bright, early-afternoon sunlit sky ‚Äì but he wasn’t about to sign for a loan.

He flashed a gun; the clerk gave him money. As the robber hit the door, the clerk called 9-1-1, knowing this criminal transaction had been caught on video.

The report of the broad-daylight robber crackled across the police radio. The Honda was first spotted near SE 60th Powell. It sounded as if the alleged robber slid around a police roadblock. More squad cars joined in the pursuit.

“He stacked it up at 115 and Division,” was the excited call of an officer. We rounded the corner and spotted a half-dozen patrol cars with lights flashing. One of the patrol cars had come to rest on the side lawn of a home, blocking any escape for the green Honda stoped parallel to a back yard fence.

A real-life CSI officer from Portland Police gathers forensic evidence at The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd. after the robbery police, who accuse him of being a “serial bandet”, say Adam G. Trainor,  robbed them on June 17.

Serial robber nabbed
Portland Police spokesman Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed that sequence of events, and also that Adam Gerard Trainor, 25, was arrested for allegedly sticking up The Cash Store using a gun.

“He didn’t give up without a fight,” Dolbey told us. “Trainor decided to fight with our officers. They used a Taser on him to take him into custody.”

Noting Trainor’s method of operation, Portland Police detectives saw similarities to recent gunpoint robberies in Washington County. A young man matching Trainor’s description allegedly previously held up a Subway shop and Hair Masters salon in Sherwood ‚Äì and Beaverton’s Honeycut & Company hair salon ‚Äì within the past weeks.

Sherwood Police Detective Dwight Onchi told us he traveled that evening to Portland’s Justice Center for an interview. “Trainor confessed to the Sherwood robberies. And, he admitted he needed money because he was a heroin addict.”

District Attorneys from both Multnomah and Washington Counties are expected to present the reports and statements to a grand jury for possible indictment.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See amazing photos … and read what happens when men and women of Portland Fire & Rescue – from all over East Portland – pulled on their gear and headed out to fight one of the largest industrial fires in years …

The Taylor Electric fire was so intense; embers flew up stories high into the air. In fact, a pallet rack shelf was projected high into the night sky by an explosion of burning material, carried up on convection current.

A firefighter climbs atop an adjoining building to make sure embers didn’t set it ablaze.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a typical, busy day for the firefighters at Westmoreland’s Station 20 on May 17. But their shift eventually included fighting one of the largest fires in recent history.

“Our 24-hour shift begins at 8 am,” Portland Fire & Rescue’s Dave Gallucci told East PDX News. “Right off the bat, we were busy. Nothing major, we went on a number of runs ‚Äì mostly medical calls ‚Äì throughout the day.”

Station 20, located on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, just west of the Bybee Bridge, is a four-person station house. By early evening, Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen had set about making dinner for the crew. “We all ate, and the day started to slow down,” Von Allmen said.

Westmorland Portland Fire & Rescue Station 20 firefighters Dave Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen were two of the 125 firefighters who fought the four-alarm, Taylor Electric Company fire that could be seen for miles around.Business picks up for Station 20
“We generally turn in around 10 pm,” Gallucci told us. “I do a little reading, and off with the light. That’s when the Tap Out [fire call] sounded. We’re familiar with that area, so we didn’t wait ‚Äì we pulled on our turnouts [fire jackets, pants and boots], and headed for the fire.”

“It was our co-firefighter, Dan Kendoll’s, last shift. He was facing forward in the engine cab, and he said he could see the flames lighting up the sky by the time we got to Holgate,” Von Allmen told us. “We jokingly blamed the late call-out on Kendoll, as we drove to the command post.”

They could see a train was blocking the Milwaukie Avenue crossing north of Powell, so they cut over to McLoughlin Boulevard, north on S.E. Grand, then to Clay Street.

“The fire was really ripping,” Gallucci continued. “I was the driver for the shift, so I started up the pump as the other crew members hooked up hoses at S.E. Second and Madison.” The blaze was just west of MLK Boulevard, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, and only a couple of blocks east of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and a branch campus of Portland Community College.

Engine supplies water
Because a high ladder truck carries no water, and doesn’t have its own pumps, it’s fire engines like Engine 20, that boosts the hydrant water pressure enough send it up the hose to the top of the five-story-high ladder, so it can be sprayed down on the fire.

Von Allmen confirmed that no firefighters were being allowed in the building, “But our engine also ran a hand-held line we used to shoot water into the windows at ground level. We put out a little of the fire.”

About an hour after the fire was discovered, the roof on the city-block-sized building collapsed, spewing a shower of sparks and cinders, and blowing large boards high into the night sky. Firefighters were dispatched to the roofs of nearby buildings to make sure they didn’t catch fire.

Karla Peterson was one of the hundreds of people came to watch this, one of the largest fires ever in the Southeast industrial area, burn on into the night. Although Peterson was blocks away from the fire, she winced and withdrew a step as the inferno exploded into the night sky. “I’ve never seen anything this. It’s awesome; I mean, awful. All the water can’t seem to put it out.”

Keeps truck cool
“The fire in the building was so intense, it wasn’t long until we could see our engine was really heating up,” Von Allmen picked up the story. “When we hit it with water, steam poured off it. Unfortunately we’d left a couple of our windows down ‚Äì it got cleaned out pretty good. We kept drenching our engine until the fire was out.”

Through the wee hours of May 18th, the Sellwood-Moreland firefighters stayed at their post, supplying 1,500 gallons of water per minute, for four hours – pushing 360,000 gallons of water, from their rig alone, to douse the conflagration.

“As close as we were to the fire, we didn’t get much smoke,” Gallucci recalled. “It was blowing away from us, so we didn’t have to wear our breathing apparatus. Some of the firefighters went through several bottles of air. Their rigs, in the smoke, got so dirty, they later had to be hand-washed, even after pressure spraying.”

“The fire burned so hot,” Von Allmen added, “it burned out pretty quickly. Sometimes a large fire like this can burn for days.” Working together, a total of 125 Portland Fire & Rescue crewmembers managed to protect all of the surrounding buildings.

Home, but not for long
By 4 am, the Station 20 crew was released, and was back in their firehouse. “It only took about an hour to square away our rig,” Von Allmen told us. “We just got settled down, and then a medical call came in. That was about 6 am.”

The following day, firefighters were still on scene, putting out the hot spots that remained.“It was a long day,” concluded Gallucci, “but in many ways, it was just another day in the life of a firefighter.”

After the fire
To prevent electrocution, Portland General Electric crews disconnected power from the industrial area’s grid shortly after the fire broke out. Good thing; at least three power transformers exploded in the fire’s intense heat, releasing their cooling oil. Millions of gallons of water running off from the firefighting carried it into Willamette River.

According to Taylor Electric’s operations manager, the burnt building was filled with about $4 million worth of inventory, including wire, circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment.

Eating pizza provided by a nearby business owner is firefighter John Robinson with Station 4.

Business owner provides lunch
As firefighters continued to douse the smoldering rubble the following morning, a table laden with pizzas appeared outside Rose’s Restaurant Equipment, directly across the street from the burned out building.

“We watched it on TV,” said owner Karen Rose, “and our son was here, keeping an eye on the store. We were concerned about the front of our building. The firefighters did a really good job.”

Rose said a firefighter asked if we knew where they order a sandwich, because they couldn’t leave their post. “We immediately called Dave Clark, owner of Pietro’s Pizza in Milwaukie. He asked, ‘How many?’ The firefighters said they couldn’t accept any kind of gifts; so we just set it all out, and walked away. I’m happy to see it looks like most of it is gone!”

Fire cause under investigation
“The exact cause of the huge blaze is still under investigation,” Lt. Allen Oswalt, fire department spokesman told us. “But it started outside the building. We believe a large stack of wooden pallets outside the southwest corner of the building was set on fire, either accidentally or on purpose.”

The pallet fire burned so intensely, Oswalt explained, that it broke the building’s exterior windows nearby. The fire then jumped inside the building. He confirmed that the company’s last employee had left the building some four hours before the start of the fire, and that nobody was in the building when it burned.

The fire investigation is continuing.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

See amazing photos … and read what happens when men and women of Portland Fire & Rescue – from all over East Portland – pulled on their gear and headed out to fight one of the largest industrial fires in years …

The Taylor Electric fire was so intense; embers flew up stories high into the air. In fact, a pallet rack shelf was projected high into the night sky by an explosion of burning material, carried up on convection current.

A firefighter climbs atop an adjoining building to make sure embers didn’t set it ablaze.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a typical, busy day for the firefighters at Westmoreland’s Station 20 on May 17. But their shift eventually included fighting one of the largest fires in recent history.

“Our 24-hour shift begins at 8 am,” Portland Fire & Rescue’s Dave Gallucci told East PDX News. “Right off the bat, we were busy. Nothing major, we went on a number of runs ‚Äì mostly medical calls ‚Äì throughout the day.”

Station 20, located on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, just west of the Bybee Bridge, is a four-person station house. By early evening, Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen had set about making dinner for the crew. “We all ate, and the day started to slow down,” Von Allmen said.

Westmorland Portland Fire & Rescue Station 20 firefighters Dave Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen were two of the 125 firefighters who fought the four-alarm, Taylor Electric Company fire that could be seen for miles around.Business picks up for Station 20
“We generally turn in around 10 pm,” Gallucci told us. “I do a little reading, and off with the light. That’s when the Tap Out [fire call] sounded. We’re familiar with that area, so we didn’t wait ‚Äì we pulled on our turnouts [fire jackets, pants and boots], and headed for the fire.”

“It was our co-firefighter, Dan Kendoll’s, last shift. He was facing forward in the engine cab, and he said he could see the flames lighting up the sky by the time we got to Holgate,” Von Allmen told us. “We jokingly blamed the late call-out on Kendoll, as we drove to the command post.”

They could see a train was blocking the Milwaukie Avenue crossing north of Powell, so they cut over to McLoughlin Boulevard, north on S.E. Grand, then to Clay Street.

“The fire was really ripping,” Gallucci continued. “I was the driver for the shift, so I started up the pump as the other crew members hooked up hoses at S.E. Second and Madison.” The blaze was just west of MLK Boulevard, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, and only a couple of blocks east of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and a branch campus of Portland Community College.

Engine supplies water
Because a high ladder truck carries no water, and doesn’t have its own pumps, it’s fire engines like Engine 20, that boosts the hydrant water pressure enough send it up the hose to the top of the five-story-high ladder, so it can be sprayed down on the fire.

Von Allmen confirmed that no firefighters were being allowed in the building, “But our engine also ran a hand-held line we used to shoot water into the windows at ground level. We put out a little of the fire.”

About an hour after the fire was discovered, the roof on the city-block-sized building collapsed, spewing a shower of sparks and cinders, and blowing large boards high into the night sky. Firefighters were dispatched to the roofs of nearby buildings to make sure they didn’t catch fire.

Karla Peterson was one of the hundreds of people came to watch this, one of the largest fires ever in the Southeast industrial area, burn on into the night. Although Peterson was blocks away from the fire, she winced and withdrew a step as the inferno exploded into the night sky. “I’ve never seen anything this. It’s awesome; I mean, awful. All the water can’t seem to put it out.”

Keeps truck cool
“The fire in the building was so intense, it wasn’t long until we could see our engine was really heating up,” Von Allmen picked up the story. “When we hit it with water, steam poured off it. Unfortunately we’d left a couple of our windows down ‚Äì it got cleaned out pretty good. We kept drenching our engine until the fire was out.”

Through the wee hours of May 18th, the Sellwood-Moreland firefighters stayed at their post, supplying 1,500 gallons of water per minute, for four hours – pushing 360,000 gallons of water, from their rig alone, to douse the conflagration.

“As close as we were to the fire, we didn’t get much smoke,” Gallucci recalled. “It was blowing away from us, so we didn’t have to wear our breathing apparatus. Some of the firefighters went through several bottles of air. Their rigs, in the smoke, got so dirty, they later had to be hand-washed, even after pressure spraying.”

“The fire burned so hot,” Von Allmen added, “it burned out pretty quickly. Sometimes a large fire like this can burn for days.” Working together, a total of 125 Portland Fire & Rescue crewmembers managed to protect all of the surrounding buildings.

Home, but not for long
By 4 am, the Station 20 crew was released, and was back in their firehouse. “It only took about an hour to square away our rig,” Von Allmen told us. “We just got settled down, and then a medical call came in. That was about 6 am.”

The following day, firefighters were still on scene, putting out the hot spots that remained.“It was a long day,” concluded Gallucci, “but in many ways, it was just another day in the life of a firefighter.”

After the fire
To prevent electrocution, Portland General Electric crews disconnected power from the industrial area’s grid shortly after the fire broke out. Good thing; at least three power transformers exploded in the fire’s intense heat, releasing their cooling oil. Millions of gallons of water running off from the firefighting carried it into Willamette River.

According to Taylor Electric’s operations manager, the burnt building was filled with about $4 million worth of inventory, including wire, circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment.

Eating pizza provided by a nearby business owner is firefighter John Robinson with Station 4.

Business owner provides lunch
As firefighters continued to douse the smoldering rubble the following morning, a table laden with pizzas appeared outside Rose’s Restaurant Equipment, directly across the street from the burned out building.

“We watched it on TV,” said owner Karen Rose, “and our son was here, keeping an eye on the store. We were concerned about the front of our building. The firefighters did a really good job.”

Rose said a firefighter asked if we knew where they order a sandwich, because they couldn’t leave their post. “We immediately called Dave Clark, owner of Pietro’s Pizza in Milwaukie. He asked, ‘How many?’ The firefighters said they couldn’t accept any kind of gifts; so we just set it all out, and walked away. I’m happy to see it looks like most of it is gone!”

Fire cause under investigation
“The exact cause of the huge blaze is still under investigation,” Lt. Allen Oswalt, fire department spokesman told us. “But it started outside the building. We believe a large stack of wooden pallets outside the southwest corner of the building was set on fire, either accidentally or on purpose.”

The pallet fire burned so intensely, Oswalt explained, that it broke the building’s exterior windows nearby. The fire then jumped inside the building. He confirmed that the company’s last employee had left the building some four hours before the start of the fire, and that nobody was in the building when it burned.

The fire investigation is continuing.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

Strike 1: Live without a working smoke detector. Strike 2: Leave a big pot of cooking oil on the stove – set to high temperature – and leave the room …

Now renting? We think not. The two-alarm fire, caused by a careless cook, gutted this apartment building, chasing 21 people out into the cold, spring night.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Just before 1:00 a.m. on May 7, most people in the apartment building on SE 124th Avenue, just north of Division Street, were deep asleep. Little did they know they would soon be leaving their homes – in the dead of night, with only the clothes on their backs – never to return.

However, one “chef” in the building decided the midnight hour was a good time to do some deep-fat frying.

Unattended pot of oil explodes into flames
Authorities would not disclose the name of the early-morning cook. They did say that the occupant of the first-floor unit poured three or four quarts of cooking oil in a cooking pot, put it on an electric stove, turned the left front burner to the “high” setting, and walked away.

Our readers have seen in the past what happens when a “turkey fryer” gets overheated and the grease boils over onto the heat source ‚Äì instant conflagration.

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allan Oswalt told us that, within minutes, the fire “flashed over” and the apartment unit was ablaze.

Blaze lit the night
“I’d drifted off to sleep, watching TV,” said neighbor Andy Andersen, “when I started smelling smoke. I heard people screaming, ‘Fire! Get out!’ I looked out my window and saw kids, women and men running out of the building as the fire department pulled up.”

Down the block, Cheryl Smythe told us, “Our dogs started barking because of the commotion outside the apartment building. When we looked outside, the fire lit up the neighborhood, almost like daylight.”

The fire burned so hot, the steel support for this lighting fixture melted as if it was plastic.

Second alarm called
Oswalt told us that a “second alarm” is typically sounded ‚Äì this brings extra firefighters and equipment to the scene ‚Äì for any multi-family dwelling or commercial building fire. “We want to make sure it doesn’t get away from us.”

Within four minutes of getting the call, the quiet of the early-morning hours was disrupted as 61 fire personnel with nine fire engines and four trucks had responded.

Oswalt said there was “heavy fire involvement in the complex of 10 units, 9 of which were occupied at the time.”

21 people left homeless
Authorities said 16 Adults and five children were displaced due to the damage caused from this fire.

“Instead of leaving them standing out in the cold,” neighbor Anderson observed, “it wasn’t long until a TriMet bus pulled up, letting the people from the burning building get out of the weather.”  Red Cross was called in to help in find lodging for the displaced occupants.

Building a “death-trap”‚Ķ?
By 2 a.m., the fire was out; but nine families were homeless; all of their possessions destroyed or damaged by fire or smoke.

A look inside the stairwell of the building that burned due to carelessness in the kitchen.

Authorities firmly stated the building was not a “death-trap”; no code violations have been filed as of publication date. Investigators imply blame the fire on the inattentive late-night cook ‚Äì calling it a fire due to “misuse of material.”

However, fire inspectors did find that air-handling ducts in the building contributed to the spread of the blaze throughout the building. Further, inspectors noted the smoke detector in the unit where the fire started failed or was non-operative.

“We can’t say it too many times,” warned Oswalt, “Smoke detectors save lives. We’re glad no lives were lost in this fire, but look at the tragic situation this fire caused to so many people.”

2006 by David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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