Fire crews battle blaze at SW Portland Jewish center

Multnomah County

No word yet on what caused the blaze

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Fire and Rescue crews battled a fire at a Jewish center in Southwest Portland early Wednesday morning.

The blaze burned at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on Vermont Street. Firefighters were called to the building just before 3 a.m.

Officials say the fire grew as they worked against the flames, so more units were called in to assist. They say there is extensive damage.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire. The battalion chief said this is the second recent fire at the center, but they are not jumping to any conclusions.

In a statement later Wednesday, investigators said the first fire was determined to be due to an electrical malfunction in an upstairs office area:

“While they do not believe that fire was intentionally set, they have not come to that same conclusion today. They did comment on the fact that the building was boarded up and clearly vacant thus, susceptible to criminal activity.”

A spokesperson with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, which is the lead federal agency for investigating fires at houses of worship, confirmed to KOIN 6 News the agency is “supporting the investigation into both of fires [sic].”

The investigation is ongoing.

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