Newest rescue boat first on scene

Portland's newest fire rescue boat proved its worth again Thursday evening battling a houseboat fire near Ross Island.

According to Portland Fire and Rescue, at 11:08 p.m. Thursday, firefighters were dispatched to reports of fire coming from a houseboat located at 6901 S.E. Oaks Park Way, #9. Firefighters from Station 21 near the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge arrived first at the scene on the Eldon Trinity Rescue Boat, followed by firefighters from Station 20 in Sellwood on a truck.

Two firefighters from the rescue boat were dropped off at the dock with a pump can and began extinguishing the flames, while firefighters from the truck began running a hose down the long dock to a standpipe. The standpipe was charged by the marina's pumps and firefighters fully extinguished the blaze by 11:37 pm.

The fire was contained to one 8' by 10' room but burned the floor. Damage to the $430,000 houseboat is estimated at $53,000. The homeowner reportedly purchased the home about six months ago. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Eldon Johnson was purchased after two children were thrown off the Sellwood Bridge by their mother in 2009. It took firefighters nearly 45 minutes to reach the children with their existing boats. Three-year-old Eldon Smith died but seven-year-old Trinity Smith survived. Trinity attended the dedication ceremony on Dec. 7, 2010.

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