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Person dies in tent fire near I-405 ramp in North Portland

Fire investigators said the person was apparently sleeping when a candle inside the tent was knocked over, causing the fire.
Police lights (Stock photo)

PORTLAND, Ore — A person died when their tent caught fire along the I-405 on-ramp across the street from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland, according to Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R).

Firefighters responded to the fire near the intersection of North Cook Street and North Gantenbein Avenue at about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday and found the person with third-degree burns on roughly 75% of their body.

Investigators said the person and another adult were sleeping inside the tent when the fire started, and they had been using a candle for light and warmth. At some point, the candle was knocked over and rapidly consumed the tent and its contents. 

The other adult escaped without injury, but the person who died was likely rendered unconscious due to smoke inhalation, PF&R said in a press release, adding that the fire was mostly out when firefighters arrived. 

The person was rushed by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel's burn center where they later died. 

“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," said PF&R Chief Sara Boone. "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.”

In recent weeks, there have reports of 2-3 tent fires a day among houseless campers in the city of Portland. 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said a man died in the fire. Portland Fire & Rescue has not released the person's gender. 


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