PORTLAND, Ore. — A person sleeping in a tent in North Portland died when the tent went up in flames early Wednesday morning.
A candle being used for light and heating was knocked over. It happened on the on-ramp to I-405 near the intersection of North Cook Street and Gantenbein around 2:15am.
The victim suffered third-degree burns on 75% of their body. Another person was able to get out.
“Tragedies like this sadden all of us at Portland Fire & Rescue,” says Fire Chief Sara Boone. “It is heartbreaking to see residents of our city living in these conditions and using unsafe means to keep themselves warm and meet their basic needs. We will continue to work with our partners at the city, county and local non-profit organizations to identify alternative methods of shelter, especially in these cold months.”
Investigators are getting reports of tent fires an estimated 2-3 times per day in the past few weeks.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said: “My heart breaks for this tragic loss as the streets of Portland claim another life from our houseless community. With colder and wetter days ahead this winter, we all must commit to do better, act compassionately, and ensure Portland is a city where our houseless neighbors have access to warmth, hygiene, shelter, and other basic life necessities. I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends suffering from this loss.”