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Hoodland Fire gets four-day fire under control

Chief hopes crews will be ready to return by noon Friday

On the morning of Friday, April 24, after nearly five days of battling a blaze that broke out at the Golden Poles Chalet condominium building in Government Camp, Hoodland Fire Crews are nearly ready to call the flames extinguished.

"(This morning) was the first time since Monday I drove over the Multorpor bridge and didn't see smoke," said Hoodland Fire Chief Mic Eby.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Fire crews worked Thursday, April 23, to access areas of the building they couldnt before.

Hoodland crews are performing a recovery and termination, gathering their hoses and equipment, while Clackamas Fire covers the rest of the district.

"We've got to protect everyone in this district, no matter what," said Eby, whose main focus throughout the fire has been the safety of his crews and the public.

Eby hopes the recovery and termination will be complete by noon Friday.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Flames continued to cover parts of the building just after noon on Thursday, three days after it ignited.

On Monday at 2:45 p.m., Hoodland Fire District — with help from six other agencies including Sandy Fire and Clackamas Fire — responded to a three-alarm fire at the complex at 31806 Multorpor Road near Skibowl East.

On Thursday morning, the investigation was beginning, despite ongoing flames, and Eby was hopeful the fire would be contained soon.

The condominium's insurance company brought equipment to pull the double metal roof off the building so investigators could get photos from above and firefighters could access nooks and crannies they hadn't before.

Lake Oswego Fire District sent a ladder truck up the mountain to aid in the process.

On Friday, Eby said since the fire began, crews have used more than 3 million gallons of water on the blaze, almost all of which was within the first two days of efforts.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Investigators toured the site as crews worked Thursday.

Hoodland Fire crews remained on scene throughout the nights into Friday morning.

"It's a very tenacious building," Eby said Wednesday afternoon. "We're not going to quit until either it goes out or the building goes down and we put it out."

The three-story, 30-unit condominium was used mostly for vacation homes and built to withstand significant snow piling up in the winter. The building's double-layered metal roof made it difficult to extinguish the fire.

"It's helping the building, but it's not helping us get to the fire," Eby explained.

Until Thursday, crews were forced to contain the fire from outside the building. Eby said firefighters couldn't access the upper floors of the building, where the fire broke out because of a danger of collapse.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Smoke from the fire was visible throughout Government Camp and even from Highway 26.

On Tuesday, Eby said crews had a problem responding to the fire quickly after getting the call Monday because of an Oregon Department of Transportation construction zone on Highway 26, where traffic is restricted to one lane.

Apart from one firefighter who sustained minor injuries to his knee, no one was hurt in the blaze.

Eby said the crews ran out of water overnight on Monday and had to draw from surrounding creeks and ponds, including Trillium Lake.

Government Camp Water Co. Inc. issued a boil-water notice for its nearly 150 customers, which has since been lifted.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Fire Districts as far as Lake Oswego lent apparatus and trucks to battle the three-alarm fire near Skibowl East.

Despite problems with water on the first night, Eby said crews allowed the small town's water supply to build itself back up over the last couple day and it now is in good shape.