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.
No injuries were reported, but at least 16 cats and several birds were killed.
Late Monday, officials expanded the evacuation area in Northeast Portland to include residents from NE 60th to East 76th and NE Columbia and NE Alberta. People in that region were told to leave because of the unhealthy smoke from the fire. The order was lifted on Tuesday morning.
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.
The DEQ later confirmed to KOIN 6 News that the business didn’t have permits for solid waste or tire waste. Investigators are looking into whether or not permits are required or if there were any violations.
Capt. Louisa Jones said the 20-25 mph east wind was the biggest challenge for crews.
According to Portland Fire & Rescue, 8-10 families lost their homes. The fire destroyed at least 8 units including a duplex and a sixplex, but officials said that number could be higher as smoke made it difficult to see.
The Red Cross has opened a reception center for people affected by the fire. The facility is at 5740 NE Portland Hwy.
According to Jones, the water supply was also a challenge, but PF&R said the water bureau has been working with them to maximize the pressure.
Officials said residents within 1 mile of the fire — excluding the evacuation zone — are advised to keep their windows and doors shut due to the poor air quality.
Students at Sacajawea Head Start were safely evacuated to Scott School earlier Monday. Sacajawea remained closed on Tuesday.
Jones said investigators will be on scene Tuesday morning.