Former Barn Tavern In Portland Goes Up In Flames

Portland, Ore. — Portland Fire & Rescue (PFR) responded to a commercial fire at the former Barn Tavern, located on the border of the Kenton and Arbor Lodge Neighborhoods, on Monday evening. The building, which is on PFR’s unsafe buildings list, has been the location of eight fire responses in the past 12 months, making it a familiar location to the firefighters.

Upon arrival at around 7:30 PM, the first responders found significant smoke coming out of the eave line of the 50′ x 50′ cinderblock walled structure. The firefighters who performed a complete walk around the building communicated that fire was visible through many of the boarded-up doors and windows, with heavy smoke pushing out of cracks and spaces on each wall. The building stands alone on the corner and did not pose a threat to any neighboring structure.

The first crew to access the roof reported that flames were already pushing through the center of the roof. The plywood coverings on the doors and windows were removed to “soften up” the building before a cautious entry was made to attempt to find the seat of the fire and search as much of the building as possible. As the fire grew, an additional truck and engine were requested to provide the appropriate number of firefighters on scene to address the issue.

Due to the size of the fire and the dangers posed by an interior fire attack, the commanding chief officer ordered the crews to withdraw and begin to set up for a defensive fire attack. With many elevated power lines at the location, establishing multiple aerial master streams posed a challenge to the crews. Only one truck was able to establish an elevated master stream to flow water into the structure due to the power lines and the heavy smoke pushing from a westerly wind directly into any personnel on the address side of the building. The flames grew so large that the power lines were being impinged upon by the fire, and the power company was requested to cut power for the safety of responders and the community.

Water was applied through all openings in the walls and through an aerial master stream for 90 minutes, while the fire continued to burn inside the building. Crews were able to gain increased access by tearing down walls with tools and damaging the walls with the hydraulic pressure from the hoses. With improved access to the inside of the structure through these new access points, the fire was slowly being extinguished, and the firefighters were slowly able to completely extinguish the flames.

There were no reported injuries. Power was restored 90 minutes later, and westbound traffic on Lombard was opened 2 ½ hours after the fire began. However, eastbound traffic and both directions on N. Denver remained blocked for a few more hours but were open in the morning for commuter traffic to flow.