Motorists driving along S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard saw thick, intense smoke billowing up and over the highway, just south of the currently unoccupied Ross Island Sand & Gravel plant, at noon on Friday, June 4 – and several of them called the 9-1-1 Center to report a fire.
By the time Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews pulled up, just minutes after being dispatched, a lieutenant reported back seeing flames in the smoke not far from the road, and radioed his concern about it spreading, due to the day's hot dry conditions, and wind.
Arriving within a minute of one another, Westmoreland Fire Station 20's Engine Company was joined by Engine 21's crew from their station under the Hawthorne Bridge; followed by the engine company from the Lloyd District's Station 13; some southbound lanes of McLoughlin were closed to fight the brush fire.
The crews of each rig unreeled their "booster hoses" that are always connected to the vehicle's pump and 1,000+ gallon internal water supply, and began putting out the fire.
"The fire appears to have started at a homeless settlement here, above the ridge," said a PF&R lieutenant at the scene. "We're glad we got to this fire quickly, and got it knocked down – because, with the dry weather we've been having drying out the vegetation, and with the breeze coming up from the Willamette River today, this could have quickly and substantially spread."
No firefighters were reported injured, and there are no reports of anyone encamped at the site being hurt, either.
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