PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fire destroyed 2 food carts in North Portland Sunday afternoon, Portland Fire & Rescue said.
Fire officials said the flames broke out near the corner of North Fremont Street and North Vancouver Avenue around 3 p.m. and destroyed Monkey Thai Street Food and Pepe Chile’s Taqueria. No one was hurt.
Julio Mendoza, who owns Pepe Chile’s Taqueria, said this fire destroyed years of hard work.
“Six years of hard work, everyday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s hard, you know.”
Mendoza said the cart was his primary source of income. He said he had just stepped away from the cart to walk his puppy and cool off when he got a call from a neighboring cart.
“I tried to see inside but everything was fire,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how metal could go so quickly.”
Investigators said they’re still working to determine the source of the blaze. But Mendoza said he has a pretty good idea.
“There’s not much to investigate. It’s the fryer,” he said.
He’s experienced small fryer fires in the past, he said, and thought everything would be fine. But it wasn’t.
“It happened before, many years ago. But I was there so I just shut it off and it was gone,” he said. “So, I thought I had time but when I came back fire was coming from the windows and from the top.”
Mendoza said it will be tough rebuilding.
“The problem is money now and time is lost also, you know. Because everyday which was supposed to be income is now expensive. So it’s tough,” he said.
The cart itself is about $30,000, “but the problem is we don’t have that.”
Mendoza set up a GoFundMe account to help in his quest to rebuild.
This fire comes about a week after an explosion destroyed a food cart in downtown Portland. Officials believe the cause of that explosion is propane-related.
The force of that blast damaged multiple nearby food trucks, shattered windows on buildings across the street and scattered debris throughout the block of SW 5th and Harvey Milk.