Hillsboro Fire and Rescue
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News Releases
UPDATE -- E. Main St Fire: Fire investigation continues - 01/03/22

January 3, 2022

Fire Investigation Status

As part of the ongoing investigation, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Department investigators are continuing to review material evidence and speak with business owners and community members. As partner resources, the Hillsboro Police Department is also assisting our fire investigators.

If any businesses or community members have cell phone or other videos of the fire, they might be helpful in determining the cause of the fire. Please contact our Public Information Officer at FirePIO@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov or call our main fire station at 503-681-6166.

Fire Scene Status

Fire crews continue to monitor and extinguish hot spots in the building. They are operating on East Main Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues, and on the back of the structure along NE Lincoln Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. Fencing has been placed around the fire area where crews are working, for the safety of community members. We ask all community members to please stay behind the fence. As an active fire area, there may smoke, ash, or other debris present. 

Roadway Access

East Main Street is reopened to traffic and pedestrians from 5th Avenue heading west to 3rd Avenue. Third Avenue has reopened to traffic and pedestrians between NE Lincoln Street and SE Baseline Street. Please watch for pedestrians and follow detour signs and traffic control signs.

Business Impacts

From what we understand, there are eight businesses displaced because their business space was directly impacted by the fire. There are 11 businesses in the area impacted by the fire that should be able to return to their business spaces with some repairs or cleaning. There are an additional 18 businesses that may have sustained some impact, such as temporary loss of power or temporary access restrictions because of the fire, and are in various stages of restoring their business operations. There may be other businesses impacted that we are not aware of. 

Portland General Electric (PGE) crews are working very diligently to minimize the duration and impact of the temporary power outages. They are working to safely restore power and mitigate risks associated with any potentially damaged power lines. Please contact PGE with questions. 

 

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January 2, 2022

Crews remain on scene of four-alarm fire in historic Downtown Hillsboro

At 2:46 am on Sunday, an observant City of Hillsboro Police Department patrol officer radioed to dispatch reporting visible flames and glass breaking in the Weil Arcade building, located at 231 East Main Street in historic Downtown Hillsboro. 

One minute later, community members began calling 911 to report significant amounts of smoke coming out from the front of the building. The fire was upgraded to a first alarm, bringing in additional fire engines and trucks. 

Engine 1 arrived within five minutes to find pressurized, heavy black smoke rolling out from the front windows and door. The incident was quickly upgraded to a second alarm, bringing more resources from neighboring fire and rescue departments. 

Firefighters attacked the fire from a defensive position outside of the building due to the heavy fire conditions. There were no reports of any persons inside or around the building. No injuries were reported. Firefighters used large diameter hoses and aerial ladder trucks on all sides of the building to put water onto the fire from the ground and from above. The fire burned very hot and extended rapidly throughout the building. Firefighters accessed the roof to cut ventilation holes to allow heated gas and smoke to release out of the building to help provide better visibility into firefighting efforts.

At 3:11 am, the incident was upgraded to a third alarmThe fire continued to swiftly consume the contents of the building and, eventually, the fire caused more windows to break and fissures to open in the roof, allowing the fire to burn through the roof. As the structural integrity of the building deteriorated further and concerns about the risk of stability over the basement level, the fire was upgraded once again – this time to a fourth alarm. For the next eight and a half hours, firefighters sprayed copious amounts of water onto the fire to try and extinguish the flames and prevent them from spreading into the adjacent buildings.

By 4:24 am, the front of the building partially collapsed, followed shortly afterward by the roof collapsing into the building. Due to the freezing temperatures, water runoff from the fire froze along the sidewalks and streets as it flowed to the stormwater drains.

At approximately 1 pm, the majority of the fire was knocked down. Crews continued to search for and extinguish hot spots.

Crews will remain on scene and rotate throughout the night and into Monday morning to extinguish hot spots and rekindled fires. A total of 40 fire and EMS units responded to the fire, bringing more than 130 first responders. For the safety of the firefighters, crews rotated and received rest and rehabilitation on the scene, including food and water. A City of Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Department chaplain responded to the scene to provide support to responding personnel. Nearby businesses, including Hillsboro Bar and Grill, Bennett Urban Farm Store, and others donated coffee, food, and drink items to support responders.

Determining a Cause

A Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Investigator is working to determine the cause of the fire. If any member of the public has cell phone videos or photos of the fire to share that might help investigators, please contact the Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer at: ePIO@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov">FirePIO@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov or call the main Hillsboro Fire & Rescue station at 503-681-6166.

Community Safety Reminder

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue reminds all community members that the area where the fire occurred is still an active fire scene. We ask everyone to avoid the area for safety, unless necessary, and we ask that everyone who needs to be in the area stay behind the fencing and tape that has been placed around the building. East Main Street between 2nd and 4th avenues remains closed. Third Avenue from Lincoln Street to East Main Street remains closed. 

For community awareness, important messages from the City of Hillsboro Water Department:

  • Customers in Downtown Hillsboro may experience water discoloration/low water pressure due to the large volume of water flowing to fight the four-alarm commercial fire at E Main Street and NE 2nd Avenue.
  • With the fire extinguished, please run cold water taps for 10 minutes to clear.
  • If discolored water persists, call the Hillsboro Water Department's after-hours pager at 503-615-6775 and leave a contact number, or email Quality@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov">WaterQuality@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov.

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue thanks its partners from around the region who responded and assisted on the fire, including:

  • Banks Fire District #13
  • Cornelius Fire Department
  • Forest Grove Fire & Rescue
  • Gaston Fire Department
  • Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
  • Portland Fire & Rescue
  • Metro West Ambulance
  • City of Hillsboro Police Department
  • City of Hillsboro Water Department
  • City of Hillsboro Public Works Department
  • Washington County Land Use & Transportation
  • NW Natural Gas
  • Portland General Electric
  • American Red Cross
  • TriMet
  • Bretthauer Oil

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E Main Fire-Front building view of damage after extinguishment
E Main Fire-Front building view of damage after extinguishment
Crews remain on scene of four-alarm fire in historic Downtown Hillsboro (Photo) - 01/02/22

At 2:46 am on Sunday, an observant City of Hillsboro Police Department patrol officer radioed to dispatch reporting visible flames and glass breaking in the Weil Arcade building, located at 231 East Main Street in historic downtown Hillsboro.  

One minute later, community members began calling 911 to report significant amounts of smoke coming out from the front of the building. The fire was upgraded to a first alarm, bringing in additional fire engines and trucks.  

Engine 1 arrived within five minutes to find pressurized, heavy black smoke rolling out from the front windows and door. The incident was quickly upgraded to a second alarm, bringing more resources from neighboring fire and rescue departments.  

Firefighters attacked the fire from a defensive position outside of the building due to the heavy fire conditions. There were no reports of any persons inside or around the building. No injuries were reported. Firefighters used large diameter hoses and aerial ladder trucks on all sides of the building to put water onto the fire from the ground and from above. The fire burned very hot and extended rapidly throughout the building. Firefighters accessed the roof to cut ventilation holes to allow heated gas and smoke to release out of the building to help provide better visibility into firefighting efforts. 

At 3:11 am, the incident was upgraded to a third alarmThe fire continued to swiftly consume the contents of the building and, eventually, the fire caused more windows to break and fissures to open in the roof, allowing the fire to burn through the roof. As the structural integrity of the building deteriorated further and concerns about the risk of stability over the basement level, the fire was upgraded once again – this time to a fourth alarm. For the next eight and a half hours, firefighters sprayed copious amounts of water onto the fire to try and extinguish the flames and prevent them from spreading into the adjacent buildings. 

By 4:24 am, the front of the building partially collapsed, followed shortly afterward by the roof collapsing into the building. Due to the freezing temperatures, water runoff from the fire froze along the sidewalks and streets as it flowed to the stormwater drains. 

At approximately 1 pm, the majority of the fire was knocked down. Crews continued to search for and extinguish hot spots. 

Crews will remain on scene and rotate throughout the night and into Monday morning to extinguish hot spots and rekindled fires. A total of 40 fire and EMS units responded to the fire, bringing more than 130 first responders. For the safety of the firefighters, crews rotated and received rest and rehabilitation on the scene, including food and water. A City of Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Department chaplain responded to the scene to provide support to responding personnel. Nearby businesses, including Hillsboro Bar and Grill, Bennett Urban Farm Store, and others donated coffee, food, and drink items to support responders. 

Determining a Cause 

A Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Investigator is working to determine the cause of the fire. If any member of the public has cell phone videos or photos of the fire to share that might help investigators, please contact the Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer at: ePIO@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov">FirePIO@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov or call the main Hillsboro Fire & Rescue station at 503-681-6166. 

Community Safety Reminder 

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue reminds all community members that the area where the fire occurred is still an active fire scene. We ask everyone to avoid the area for safety, unless necessary, and we ask that everyone who needs to be in the area stay behind the fencing and tape that has been placed around the building. East Main Street between 2nd and 4th avenues remains closed. Third Avenue from Lincoln Street to East Main Street remains closed.  

For community awareness, important messages from the City of Hillsboro Water Department: 

  • Customers in Downtown Hillsboro may experience water discoloration/low water pressure due to the large volume of water flowing to fight the four-alarm commercial fire at E Main Street and NE 2nd Avenue. 
  • With the fire extinguished, please run cold water taps for 10 minutes to clear. 
  • If discolored water persists, call the Hillsboro Water Department's after-hours pager at 503-615-6775 and leave a contact number, or email Quality@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov">WaterQuality@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue thanks its partners from around the region who responded and assisted on the fire, including:

  • Banks Fire District #13 
  • Cornelius Fire Department 
  • Forest Grove Fire & Rescue 
  • Gaston Fire Department 
  • Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue 
  • Portland Fire & Rescue 
  • Metro West Ambulance 
  • City of Hillsboro Police Department 
  • City of Hillsboro Water Department 
  • City of Hillsboro Public Works Department 
  • Washington County Land Use & Transportation 
  • NW Natural Gas 
  • Portland General Electric 
  • American Red Cross 
  • TriMet 
  • Bretthauer Oil

E Main Fire-Bedroom fire area
E Main Fire-Bedroom fire area
Residential fire displaces seventeen people (Photo) - 01/01/22

Visible flames and billowing black smoke from an apartment unit at 1134 E. Main St in Hillsboro prompted multiple calls to 911 at 10:50 am today. Neighbors knocked on doors of adjacent units to alert residents to evacuate. An arriving Hillsboro Police patrol officer reported seeing an apartment fully involved with fire and spreading to an adjacent unit. The call was upgraded to a first alarm to bring additional resources to fight the fire. 

Engine 1 and Engine 5 arrived within three minutes of dispatch and began attacking the fire. Firefighters searched the apartment on fire and all the units within the complex and confirmed that all residents had evacuated safely. For safety, East Main Street was closed between SE 10th Avenue and SE 12th Avenue. TriMet MAX was briefly interrupted due to the proximity of the fire to the light rail tracks. Firefighters had the fire extinguished within six minutes then transitioned to check for fire extension to other units in the complex. No injuries were reported.

Seventeen people were displaced as a result of the fire. Due to the cold temperatures, a TriMet bus was provided to give temporary shelter and warmth. A Hillsboro public safety chaplain responded in addition to the American Red Cross to provide assistance to victims.        

A Hillsboro Fire Investigator determined the cause to be combustible materials that ignited from a baseboard heater in a bedroom. Three units were impacted by the fire. 

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue reminds you to keep all combustible materials at least three feet away from all heaters and heat sources in your home at all times. Test your home’s smoke alarms at least once per month and practice your home fire escape plan with your family members.

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue thanks its partners who responded and assisted on the fire: Cornelius Fire Department, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Metro West Ambulance, Hillsboro Police, and Portland General Electric.

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