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Two-alarm blaze hits NE Columbia Blvd building

UPDATE • Small warehouse fire chokes facility with heavy smoke
by: Dick Harris Portland firefighters used respirators to check inside a Northeast Columbia Boulevard warehouse Thursday evening as thick smoke from a small fire filled the building. No one was injured in the incident.

Thick smoke billowing from a Northeast Columbia Boulevard warehouse prompted a two-alarm response Thursday evening by Portland firefighters.

The smoke was reported at about 7 p.m. in a mixed-use warehouse complex at Northeast 21st Avenue and Argyle Street. The crew of Engine 14 answered a commercial alarm at 2205 N.E. Columbia Blvd., a commercial complex with Multnomah County adult gang member supervision offices. When firefighters arrived, they discovered that the smoke was coming from a nearby warehouse.

As Engine 14's crew opened an overhead door in the warehouse, thick black smoke roiled out, prompting a call for more firefighters and equipment at about 7:20 p.m.

The fire was not very large, but the material burning in the building sent a large amount of smoke into the warehouse. Firefighters had to be cautious because warehouse fires can be tricky, said Paul Corah, Portland Fire and Rescue spokesman.

'Warehouses are potentially dangerous because of the unknown contents and oftentimes illogical interior floorplans,' Corah said.

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire. No damage estimates were available. No one was injured in the incident.