PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fire at Lacamas Labs in North Portland brought a swift and heavy response, including a HazMat crew, to handle a volatile mix of fire and oil, Portland Fire & Rescue said Monday.
Lacamas Labs is “a large-scale contract manufacturer of high quality pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemicals,” according to their website.
Explosions were reported at the warehouse, 3625 N. Suttle Road, around 4:30 p.m. As firefighters arrived, large smoke columns were easily seen and there was concern the oil inside could catch fire.
The fire was showing in the front of the building and around the area of the oil pump, PFR officials said. Once the fire outside was handled, the focus shifted to dealing with any fire inside the warehouse.
Early reports said a hot oil system, inside an area that shared a wall with the building where the fire was, failed. But a door to the main warehouse was left open, allowing heat to enter — which activated the fire sprinklers.
Firefighters and crews from utility companies “de-energized the building” and stopped more oil from flowing through the system, officials said.
The sprinkler system worked as designed as did the plant containment basins that collected all the water and oil, officials said. A damaged nitrogen gas line was venting safely and the gas flow was stopped to prevent more gas venting.
It took crews about an hour to completely handle the incident. Nobody was hurt and “all hazardous materials were safely contained in plant catchment basins,” officials said.
The cause of the fire was not disclosed.