The evacuation area around a massive fire in northeast Portland was expanded late Monday due to unhealthy smoke.
Officials said air quality monitors had picked up unhealthy levels of fine particulate.
Residents living in an area bordered from Northeast 60th to East 76th and Northeast Columbia and Northeast Alberta need to evacuate, according to authorities.
Anyone who needs shelter assistance can call 211. If you need transportation, call 503-823-2323.
Officials said an emergency shelter, operated by Multnomah County and the Red Cross, will open at 1415 SE 122nd Ave. in Portland. Pets are welcome.
The fire, which started in a northeast Portland car yard, destroyed nearby homes and killed more than a dozen pet cats.
Crews responded to the fire near Northeast 75th Avenue and Killingsworth Street on Monday morning.
Thick black smoke billowing from the fire could be seen for miles.
The fire grew to five alarms and destroyed a nearby duplex and two other homes. Firefighters said more than a dozen cats were in those buildings and died.
There were no reports of injuries to people in connection with the fire.
“You could feel the glass shake inside the house. It was the most violent flame, smoke that I have ever seen in my life. It seemed like maybe an aircraft had gone down and was just billowing out, it was incredible,” one man living nearby told FOX 12.
IMAGES: Massive fire in NE Portland
Firefighters expected to be at the scene overnight and into Tuesday morning to make sure the scene remained under control.
The cause has not yet been determined.
The Portland Water Bureau reported receiving calls about discolored water in the Cully neighborhood, as well as other areas near the fire.
A water bureau spokeswoman said what people were seeing was harmless sediment that was stirred up by the firefighting efforts.
Air quality was another concern for people in the area. Environmental Protection Agency crews responded to the scene, and called for assistance from workers in Seattle.
The air was described as “slighting unhealthy” for people in the immediate area. The EPA advised people within a one mile radius to keep their windows closed.
Oregon Public Health reported that smoke from burning tires may contain toxic chemicals including cyanide, carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide.
Portland Fire & Rescue issued aone mile “shelter in place” zone
around the fire while it was burning. People inside homes in the immediate area of the fire were told to evacuate. Those people were assisted by the American Red Cross.
A nearby animal shelter was in the evacuation zone and nine of their dogs had to be taken to a safe location.
Kim Singer of Diamond Cut Loyalty Canine Rescue said many people from all over the community pitched in to help with the frightened dogs. For a while, the dogs were kept out in front of Gartner’s Country Meat Market, where workers gave them bones and a man from the shelter played music to help keep them calm.
The Oregon Humane Society also sent workers out to assist with other displaced pets.
Around 115 students from Sacajawea Head Start on the 4800 block of Northeast 74th Avenue were evacuated, with school buses taking the students to Scott School, 6700 N.E. Prescott St., where parents were advised to pick up their children.
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