Portland firefighter surprised by enormity of Oso disaster

Portland firefighter surprised by enormity of Oso disaster

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by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 5:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 5:36 AM

PORTLAND -- Many who've the toured the devastation left behind by the Oso mudslide say you don’t get a feeling for how big the tragedy is by watching TV.

Portland Fire Fighter Lt. Rich Tyler agrees.

“You feel so small when you're there and you're looking at this magnitude of the devastation that occurred,” he said.

More: Obama mourns with survivors at Oso mudslide scene

Tyler toured Oso for a fact finding mission to help Portland better prepare for a major disaster.

He was surprised by the expanse of the destruction.

“Incredible, incredible," Tyler said. "It’s one of those experiences where you can’t explain it until you've been there."

He remembers feeling a deep sorrow.

"It’s palatable, the sadness, the anguish and you know, my heart goes out to them," Tyler said.

But besides the sadness he found an encouraging spirit of love in Oso.

“I was honored to be there," Tyler said. "I was brought in as an observer to learn. These professionals, these volunteers, the individuals there on the ground doing that for the community..they were dedicating their life for that period of time to do what they could to help that community recover."

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