PF&R: Deadly RV fire in Southeast Portland shows concerning trend
A person and a dog were killed in a recreational vehicle fire early Tuesday morning.
Firefighters responded to the fire behind the Shalamar Apartments on Southeast Powell Boulevard around 2 a.m. on March 16. Another person and a dog who were in the vehicle escaped injury.
Portland Fire & Rescue said the fire was started by "improper use of a propane heater" used to keep the vehicle's occupants warm. Six such fires have happened so far this year, PF&R said.
At one point, firefighters were getting called out to three or four tent fires each day. Last month, a man died after being severely burned in a tent fire in Portland's Piedmont neighborhood. Investigators said the blaze likely came from a propane heating device.
"This is a very concerning trend," said PF&R Lt. Rich Chatman "This is not an average amount of fatalities that we're seeing. One fatality is too many, right?"
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees PF&R, said the fires and deaths show the need for the City Council to approve the Street to Shelter Continuum Project, which is intended to allow more sanctioned shelters and campsites in all parts of town. The first hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17. The final vote is tentatively scheduled for March 31.
"There is hope on the horizon. Throughout this month the City of Portland will be discussing and voting on zoning changes that will give us more flexibility for managed housing options, safe parking, and more. We also have Metro's recently passed Here Together ballot measure that will dramatically increase our investment in alleviating houselessness. I'm committed to working with Portland Fire & Rescue, the City of Portland, and community organizations throughout the city to develop creative solutions to mitigating fires while we work urgently to provide more housing, support, and dignity to those in need," Hardesty said.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.
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