PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A massive fire erupted at the former Elks Lodge in Portland’s Gateway neighborhood and burned through its roof early Thursday morning, officials said.

The 2-alarm fire broke out at the building on Northeast 100th Avenue and Northeast Glisan Street at around 2 a.m., according to Portland Fire & Rescue. Crews hurried to the scene to battle the growing flames which at one point were seen bursting through the top of the building.

The lodge, which has been vacant for about seven years, has been the site of other blazes, including one this past December, which PF&R says have left large holes in the floor of each level, compromising the stability of the 13,000 square-foot building. With that in mind, crews decided to use a defensive attack strategy and forced open the doors to ensure no one was trapped inside. Even though no one was inside, according to officials, there were still safety concerns as outside walls were collapsing and heavy smoke surrounded the area.

“We’re very conditioned to going inside structures and aggressively fighting fire, that’s our preferred tactic,” said Rick Graves with PF&R. “But, it’s an unsafe building. It’s got holes on every level.”

  • Huge plumes of smoke and flames burst from former Elks Lodge in NE Portland on Thursday, April 6, 2023
  • Former Elk Lodge in NE Portland burns in an early morning fire on Thursday, April 6, 2023
  • Wall of former Elk Ldge collapses as fire rips through the vacant building on Thursday, April 6, 2023
  • The former Elks Lodge in NE Portland went up in flames early Thursday, April 6, 2023
  • Huge smoke plume emerges as the former Elk Lodge in NE Portland burns on Thursday, April 6, 2023

Using “copious” amounts of water, firefighters were able to knock down many of the flames after nearly two hours. PF&R said efforts then turned toward preventing “any large flare-ups while the heavy timber legacy construction material burns itself out.”

The building is owned by the David Douglas School District which planned to eventually build an elementary school there, but it has stood vacant since they purchased it in 2015.

District officials shared that they have had a hard time keeping homeless people out of the building and had to work with police several times to clear it out.

Before arriving at the scene, firefighters were told people were seen running out of the building. Crews, however, did not find anyone at the scene and said no injuries have been reported.

The investigation is ongoing.