10 cars, 2 food carts damaged in downtown Portland fire

KATU photo by Monty Orrick

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) – Portland Fire and Rescue crews say no one suffered major injuries in a fire involving two food carts in downtown Portland Wednesday afternoon.

Crews were called to the intersection of SW 1st Avenue and Columbia Boulevard around 3 p.m. for two food carts engulfed in flames.

Lai Thai Food Cart and The Greek Gods Gyros, along with ten nearby cars, were considered a total loss.

Fire officials said an employee at one of the carts was pouring diesel fuel into a generator when the wind blew fuel toward a heat source. The diesel ignited and started the fire.

Flames quickly spread to the nearby parking lot, damaging at least one tree and 10 cars. And as the fire burned, the heat and flames caused two propane tanks to explode.

Several people were treated at the scene, but none were hospitalized.

Brian Greig, who works at a nearby office building, said he looked out the window and saw his pickup truck going up in flames.

"I could look right out my desk and see," Greig told KATU. “It’s totaled. There’s no doubt about it. It’s absolutely totaled. The fire department already came over and told me. At that point I was like, ‘Well, that thing’s done.' ... I just care about the family that has to go through all this headache that has to do with the food cart, you know. I feel bad for ‘em."

Chris Ancharski, who also works nearby, said he and several co-workers came down from their office building to remove their cars after seeing flames. When he was about 20 to 30 yards away he said he felt and heard an explosion.

“It was a pulse that really was something that just knocked everybody off of their feet," Ancharski said, "and everybody truly realized the severity, magnitude of what was going on and it was a dangerous situation.”

A Portland Fire representative said they've been engaged in ongoing conversations with the county to establish 10-foot fire breaks every four to five carts among the city's cart pods to help prevent this sort of thing.

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