PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Heavy smoke was seen billowing from a fire in Northeast Portland on Monday morning causing businesses and residents nearby to evacuate and destroying buildings. However, no injuries have been reported.
The 5-alarm fire, which started around 9 a.m., is burning at NW Metal’s scrap yard on NE 75th Ave and Killingsworth Street. Portland Fire & Rescue officials the wind-driven fire is expected to burn “for hours.”
Capt. Louisa Jones said, “Until the wind dies down, it has unlimited fuel.”
The water supply is also difficult in the area, so PF&R is working with the water bureau to get more water for the fire.
Officials said residents within 1 mile of the fire — excluding the evacuation zone — are advised to “shelter in place,” which means shutting windows and turning off all HVAC systems due to air quality conditions.
Portland police and Portland Fire & Rescue are also evacuating homes located on Northeast 75th west to Northeast 72nd and Northeast Alberta north to Killingsworth.
More than 100 at Sacajawea Head Start were safely evacuated by school buses to Scott School where their parents can pick up them up. Afternoon classes at Sacajawea have been canceled.
Scott School is currently experiencing a shelter in place.
Smoke from burning tires include toxic chemicals of synthetic rubber compounds. Smoke may contain cyanide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other dangerous chemicals. Extinguishing these fires is difficult
– Oregon Public Health Association
PF&R said the smoke is so thick, they’re unable to see what’s still burning. The fire has already destroyed a duplex and apartment building — killing 16 cats, according to officials.
It’s unclear how the fire started. Officials said it could be days before the cause is determined.
Amber Speaks, the office manager of NW Metals, said they recycle vehicles in the scrap yard.
Video from the scene shows a large pile of cars on fire and multiple small explosions could be heard.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said the dark plume of smoke can be seen from Beaverton and Tigard areas.
NE Killingsworth is closed from 72nd – 82nd Ave. TriMet said Line 72 is being detoured around the road closures. TriMet is also providing 2 buses for sheltering and evacuation.