Air quality concerns from fire force wider evacuations
Heavy smoke from a large fire in a Northeast Portland auto salvage yard prompted Multnomah County and Portland officials to expand a neighborhood evacuation Monday night.
Federal air quality monitors showed unhealthy levels of fine particulate in the area because of the March 12 fire. Officials ordered residents from Northeast 60th to 76th avenues and Columbia and Alberta streets to leave the area.
Federal Environmental Protection Agency monitors installed Monday afternoon showed that the plume of smoke from the burning metal and tires at the auto yard at Northeast 75th Avenue and Killingsworth Street had settled into neighborhoods. East winds were expected to drive the smoke closer to the ground until Tuesday morning.
Portland firefighters have called for a fourth alarm Monday morning at a commercial fire near Northeast 75th Avenue and Killingsworth Street.
Several buildings are near the large fire that is pouring a column of black smoke into the air. The smoke can be seen for several blocks.
Firefighters said several cars are on fire at one of the buildings.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m., March 12, firefighters called for a second alarm. Several minutes later, third and fourth alarms were sounded, bringing more firefighting equipment to the incident.
Because of the fire, Portland Public Schools evacuated the nearby Sacajawea Head Start, 4800 N.E. 74th Ave., sending 115 students to Scott School on Northeast Prescott Street.
District officials said Sacajawea's afternoon classes were canceled.
Scott School students are sheltering in place in the building because of smoke from the large fire, with windows closed and no outdoor activities. The building's HVAC equipment also has been shut off.
Principals at Roseway Heights K-8 School, several blocks away on Siskiyou Street, and Rigler Elementary School on Northeast Prescott Street, are monitoring the fire.
The American Red Cross set up a reception center in the C3 NE PDX building, 5740 N.E. Portland Highway, for people affected by an industrial fire on Northeast 75th Avenue. People who had to leave their homes because of the dense smoke were encouraged to find food and other assistance at the reception center.