PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents in a North Portland neighborhood want action from city leaders after the explosion of a camper-trailer parked on a busy street corner in the early hours of Saturday.
No one was hurt when the RV exploded around 2 a.m. Saturday near North Lombard and Catlin, Portland Fire & Rescue said. The camper was parked across the street from a convenience store and just feet from a home.
Witnesses who spoke with KOIN 6 News painted a dramatic scene with burning debris landing on the home’s roof and one neighbor who grabbed a water hose to begin spraying the house.
A propane tank is visible among all the char and debris. One man told KOIN 6 News he was helping the people who lived in the camper to hook up the propane tank when it erupted.
Police officials told KOIN 6 News they’ve had several nuisance calls in the past month about this particular camper-trailer. PF&R officials said mishandling the propane tank likely caused the fire.
The fire caused an internet outage for residents in the immediate area, one neighbor told KOIN 6 News. The internet was back in service on Monday.
There was a mixed reaction from those who live nearby, and those who spoke with KOIN 6 News declined to give their names.
“We were sleeping, we heard a lot of racket, screeching cars, I think we heard gun fire, people screaming and yelling running down the block, our dog started barking so we got up and looked out the door,” one neighbor said. “Then, boom, this trailer blew up. It was a big mushroom cloud of flames shooting way up, burning the wires. It was nasty.”
“Every single child in our community, this is how they grow up, seeing it, hearing it, seeing what happens during the daytime when there are altercations, where there are conflicts,” another neighbor told KOIN 6 News.
A third neighbor said, “These were people who were saving, who had just established enough of a savings to be able to get into a place and get off the street and now that’s all gone and they’re starting from scratch.”
KOIN 6 News reached out to the Portland Bureau of Transportation about the current rules for people living in campers and RVs in the city limits. At this time they have not responded.