In fire safety,
By Rueben Descloux, Fire Marshal, Tillamook Fire District
At approximately 10:44 PM on the evening of May 23, 2022, Tillamook Fire District was dispatched to report of a structure fire in the Tillamook Apartments. Based on initial reports of visible flame in an upstairs apartment, a second alarm was issued for assistance from neighboring fire agencies.
The first arriving units encountered occupants evacuating the apartment building, eventually gathering in the laundromat parking lot across the street. There was no immediate flame or smoke visible from the street side. Fire crews advanced hose lines to the third floor where they encountered smoke in the immediate hallway at the top of the stairs with zero visibility. Based on the smoke conditions, a third alarm was issued for additional resources.
Fire crews found the fire room with extensive fire damage which had been brought under control by the building’s sprinkler system. The sprinkler system was shut down after the fire was confirmed to be out and was later brought back online with the installation of a replacement head to protect the structure for the remainder of the night.
Ventilation crews were quick to establish both positive pressure, battery powered and electric fans to evacuate smoke from the third floor. Coordinated with the interior fire suppression crews, ventilation improved visibility for suppression and rescue crews. Interior rescue crews located an occupant unaccounted for on the third floor and removed them without harm to the evacuation area with the other occupants. Crews assisted with additional occupant evacuations on the second floor.
Multiple fire crews were assigned to assist with water control and property conservation on all three floors including the basement. The Rendezvous was impacted greatly by the water runoff from the suppression system.
Red Cross was contacted to assist occupants displaced by the fire. There are 43 apartments in the complex but after thorough investigation, only 3 apartments had to be isolated due to fire and water damage.
A collaborative effort to ensure that the apartment fire was mitigated successfully included the assistance of the following agencies:
Tillamook Public Works
Tillamook City Police
Adventist Health Tillamook Ambulance
Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office
Tillamook County Communications District – 911
Rockaway Beach Fire Department
Garibaldi Fire Department
Bay City Fire Department
Tillamook Fire District
Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue
North Lincoln Fire and Rescue
The third alarm fire was responded to by approximately 60 firefighters from local fire agencies. North Lincoln Fire moved a fire engine up to Station 87 in Hebo, Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue sent an engine to Rockaway, and Rockaway Beach FD moved an engine down to Garibaldi.
Apparatus response to the fire scene included 2 ladder trucks, 2 ambulances, 10 fire engines, 1 rescue, personal vehicles, and 5 fire chiefs.
The fire originated in the kitchen of a third-floor apartment and is currently under investigation. The fire alarm system, which was last tested on September 30, 2021, was quick to alert occupants to the incipient fire in the apartment. Once the fire grew large enough, it was knocked down by the sprinkler system which was last tested on September 9, 2021.
The apartment building’s alarm and sprinkler systems performed correctly, ensuring the safety of the occupants.