Candle tips inside tent at I-405; one person dies

Multnomah County

The person died at Emanuel Burn Center in Portland

One person died when a tipped-over candle set a tent on fire at I-405 near the intersection with N. Cook and Gantenbein, December 16, 2020 (PF&R)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A candle being used for heat and light inside a tent tipped over and badly burned one person who later died from their injuries, Portland Fire & Rescue said.

There were 2 people in the tent at the time of the fire, around 2:10 a.m. Fire crews rushed to the spot at the on-ramp to I-405 near the intersection with N. Cook and Gantenbein. When crews arrived, the fire was out but one person was seriously burned.

An ambulance arrived and rushed that person to the Emanuel Burn Center. The patient died later from their burns, officials said.

The other person in the tent managed to escape. But the other person may have been unconscious from smoke inhalataion and suffered the fatal burns.

PFR Chief Sara Boone said tragedies like this affect everyone.

“It is heartbreaking to see residents of our city living in these conditions and using unsafe means to keep themselves warm and meet their basic needs,” Boone said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners at the city, county and local non-profit organizations to identify alternative methods of shelter, especially in these cold months.”

Fire investigators said they’ve been getting reports of 2 to 3 tent fires a day recently.

Portland City Commissioner said her “heart breaks for this tragic loss.”

“With colder and wetter days ahead this winter, we all must commit to do better, act compassionately, and ensure Portland is a city where our houseless neighbors have access to warmth, hygiene, shelter, and other basic life necessities,” she said.

The victim’s name has not been released.

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