Shirley’s Tippy Canoe fire now labeled ‘suspicious’

Multnomah County

Fire destroyed iconic eatery on January 17, 2020

TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) — The fire that destroyed Shirley’s Tippy Canoe last month has now officially been labeled suspicious, Corbett Fire investigators said Thursday.

The fire at the iconic eatery on Historic Columbia River Highway broke out around 5 a.m. on January 17. Immediately firefighters began battling the blaze defensively — that is, fighting it from the outside and from above.

Investigators said Thursday there were flames throughout the 2nd floor when fire crews arrived along with high heat and heavy black smoke on the 1st floor. The building, dating back to the 1940s, was a complete loss with damage exceeding $1 million.

Shirley’s Tippy Canoe in Troutdale was destroyed by fire, January 17, 2020 (KOIN)

About a week after the fire, Duston Yacapin, deputy fire marshal investigator with Gresham Fire & Emergency Services, said, “Right now we’re pretty sure it started on the second floor. It burned hot and everything quickly fell through to the first floor.”

The fire was possibly preceded by an activated burglar alarm.

In a statement Thursday, Corbett Fire officials said they “are currently calling the fire suspicious in nature due to several unusual circumstances that occurred in the days and hours leading up to the fire.”

They also said there’s no reason for the public to take any extra precautions.

Meanwhile, the charred restaurant remained taped off as the investigation continues into the cause. Many who loved the eatery want answers about what happened. Bill Espenel, who lives next door to Shirley’s Tippy Canoe, was one of the first people to see flames shooting from the restaurant. He then alerted other neighbors, including Mona Nash who caught the fire on video.

“It’s sad,” said Espenel. “Too bad.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Corbett Fire at 503.695.2272 or

Shirley’s Tippy Canoe in Troutdale, 2018 (Pamplin Media)

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