PORTLAND, Ore. -- An abandoned fire station at Northwest 3rd Avenue and Glisan caught fire early Friday morning. The building is considered uninhabitable and was allowed to burn.
Fire Station 2, at 510 NW Third Avenue, was in service from 1912 to 1950, according the historical files from the Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau. The building facade features the year 1913.
There were no reports of injuries. Early 911 calls about 4 a.m. made reference to homeless squatters and people screaming for help, but two searches found no one.
When crews arrived, flames were coming out windows and had burned through the second floor. Crews also were concerned the unreinforced masonry on the side of the building could collapse. The building was listed in 2010 as "unsafe."
The fire disrupted MAX service and closed westbound lanes of the Steel Bridge until about 6:30 a.m.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
A bystander who wanted to be known as Kat, is blind. But she could smell the smoke, hear the engines, and feel the heat from across the street.
“Smoke was it was blowing in my space so I tied a bandana around my eyes my nose and my mouth.
When crews arrived they couldn't go in. It was too unsafe, especially since fire burned through the second floor and flames were coming out the windows.
“It's unreinforced masonry, so that adds to the unsafe building portion,” said Kim Kosmas with Portland Fire. “Because under fire conditions the floors are going to fail, the walls could fail, the building could fail.”
Kosmas said initially there were reports of transients and people screaming for help.
Kat said she heard people talking about how there may have been people camping at the old firehouse last night.