Heavy smoke covers freeway, drifts over city
by: Jonathan House, Portland firefighters battled a blaze Tuesday afternoon that destroyed the empty Albina Fuel Co. building on Northeast 33rd Avenue. Smoke from the blaze billowed over Interstate 84 during rush-hour traffic.

The former Albina Fuel Co. building at Northeast 33rd Avenue and Broadway Street was heavily damaged by a fire that closed the intersection and sent heavy smoke throughout the city Tuesday afternoon.

Portland firefighters battling the blazed through the afternoon rush hour. The two-alarm fire began around 4:30 p.m. and took more 80 firefighters with ladder trucks over an hour to control.

Afternoon traffic on the adjacent Interstate 84 was slowed by the thick fumes.

The building, 3246 N.E. Broadway, has been empty for years. The site has been studied for redevelopment, but no demolition work had begun.

Although transients are known to frequent the premises, there were no early reports of injuries. The building is off limits even to firefighters until Wednesday morning.

According to the fire bureau, the first alarm was called in at 4:28 pm and the first engine arrived at 4:32 pm. The second alarm was called in at 4:35 pm. Firefighters began getting the upper hand and the smoke production began to decrease at about 5:45 pm. The engines were recalled to their stations by 6:11 pm.

At the height of the fire, it was fought by 84 firefighters from 11 engine companies.

Anyone with information about this fire is urged to call the Fire Investigation Hotline at 503-823-3791. Callers can remain anonymous.

KPTV News 12 contributed to this story.

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