PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 3-alarm blaze collapsed the floor and burned through the roof of the Roseway Theater on Sandy Boulevard early Saturday morning, officials with PFR said.
When crews arrived at the building around 6 a.m., they reportedly found it filled with dark black smoke and began searching inside the theater for the fire. However, firefighters pulled back and began fighting the flames from the exterior when the floor started to collapse and the fire began burning through the roof.
Aerial ladder trucks were used to pour water into the building to keep it from spreading to other businesses in the area. According to officials, over 80 fire personnel worked to douse the flames.
While the blaze is now under control, PFR said unless the theater is completely rebuilt they are counting this as a total loss.
“From what I’ve seen from the aerial photos, they would have to rebuild the whole structure,” PFR’s Terry Foster said.
“First crews opened the doors and there was fire inside. There’s stairwells going downstairs as well, and they were burned out,” Foster said. “We wanted to advance and try and fight this fire, but it was just too much.”
Crews continue to cool hot spots. Portland Fire & Rescue crews will be at the scene throughout Saturday and the investigation will likely take a minimum of several days. The cause of the blaze remains undetermined at this time.
City crews were called to mitigate the water runoff caused by the firefighting efforts.
While utility and city crews were also called in to respond, fire crews said most of the damage was contained to the nearly 100-year-old structure.
“I think that’s the biggest takeaway, is that we did keep it to the one structure,” Foster told KOIN 6 News. “There may be some minor damage to the other structures, but it could have been a lot worse.”
Neighbors who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they hope the show will go on.
Taylor Cameron, who lives next door to the theater, said the blaze was a little too close for comfort. He woke up to the smell of smoke as neighbors knocked on his door to warn him before fire crews arrived.
“We were afraid for our house,” Cameron said. “Our garage has, like, an inch gap from the theater that’s basically touching the brick wall there. So we were afraid it would come crashing down on our home, on our garage.”
Cameron said the loss of the Roseway Theater is a devastating blow for the community.
“We’re supersad to see the damage. It’s almost a 100-year-old building and it has a lot of historic importance to this neighborhood,” he said. “We have a lot of families and kids who live here that like to go to that theater, and it’s really affordable to go there, too. So, it’s sad to see something like that go up in flames.”
While he hopes they can restore the theater, Cameron is thankful he, his home and his pets are safe.