Dumpster fire becomes two-alarm blaze in Brentwood-Darlington

Learn more about this major outer East Portland blaze; the commotion woke up Lents neighborhood folks …

Before dawn, fire crews battle a blaze, caused by a dumpster set afire, next to the Springwater Corridor Trail. Greg Muhr image for PF&R

By David F. Ashton

A pre-dawn industrial fire on Thursday, June 16, at the southeastern edge of the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood kept fire crews at the scene throughout the day.

Neighbors who take a shortcut from SE 72nd Avenue to 82nd Avenue of Roses using Luther Road likely had never noticed the large industrial buildings from which smoke was bellowing for hours that day, hidden behind a stand of trees, where the street crosses the Springwater Corridor Trail.

Firefighters spray water on, and into this building that was set ablaze by a dumpster fire next to the Springwater Corridor Trail. PF&R Image

At 4:12 a.m., Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were called to the Luther Road location.. Clackamas Fire District Three units were dispatched to assist; the street is the actual dividing line between Multnomah and Clackamas counties.

Neighbors to the northwest of the fire, along SE Springwater Drive told THE BEE later in the morning that they had been awakened by an “explosion that shook us out of our beds”.

As day breaks, firefighters continue shooting thousand of gallons of water on the burning building. Greg Muhr image for PF&R

PF&R Lents Station 11’s crews were first on scene, and reported to dispatchers seeing the building on fire, but due its the secluded location, they had trouble getting to it via the long driveway in from Luther Road.

When crews were able to access the building, the medal-clad structure was fully ablaze. A PF&R Battalion Chief in command soon declared it to be a “defensive firefight” – meaning that firefighters would not be going in to the building with water hose lines, due to the danger of collapse.

In the daylight, the extent of damage caused by this fire becomes clearly visible. PF&R Image

Second Alarm’ called
Due to the volume of fire and potential for its further spreading, the Chief requested a second alarm, bringing more crews to help fight the fire.

One challenge to firefighters was that, due to limited space, few engines and ladder trucks could actually drive onto the property. Another problem was that the nearest fire hydrants were quite some distance from the fire.

By midday, smoke is still issuing from the rubble of the burned building. East Portland News image

Into the afternoon, firefighting rigs still clog SE Luther Road as crews remain on scene, spraying water on the charred building. East Portland News image

Crews did contain the blaze to one of the two main buildings, which held parts for building trailers. Also inside were also trailer tires, which fueled the flames for hours.

Firefighters at the scene would not speculate to East Portland News about how the fire started in the dumpster, nor opine if this was a tragic industrial accident, or an arson fire, set by a “traveler” along the Springwater Corridor Trail.

However, a PF&R Investigator announced that the origin of the fire had been a dumpster on the exterior of the building. The cause of its having caught fire remains “under investigation”. No injuries were reported.

>> On our Front Page: Greg Muhr image for PF&R

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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