Shortly after 3 p.m. today, multiple callers to 911 reported a barn fire at a rural property on Burkhalter Road in western Washington County. Firefighters from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Hillsboro Fire & Rescue were quickly dispatched to the scene.
While heading to the location, firefighters from TVF&R Midway Station 19 saw a dark column of smoke coming from the vicinity of where the fire was reported and immediately upgraded the incident to a first alarm. This ensured adequate resources would be dispatched to the fire, including additional water tenders that needed to shuttle water to the scene due to the lack of fire hydrants in the rural area.
As soon as firefighters arrived, they begin aggressive fire attack measures to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the barn. While battling the fire, a compressed gas tank next to the barn exploded and flew approximately 50 feet from the barn. Fortunately, no firefighters were near the tank at that time. The incident commander prompted crews to withdraw to a safer distance and continue in defensive fire attack mode. Crews also had to cautiously work around a downed powerline near the barn.
Extremely warm temperatures necessitated regular cycling of firefighters to ensure they were hydrated. Approximately 43 firefighters helped fight the fire that took just under an hour to extinguish.
Unfortunately, the barn and its contents, which mostly consisted of farm and recreational equipment, were destroyed. Thankfully, no animals or people were in the barn when the fire broke out, and no firefighters were injured during firefighting operations.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time; a TVF&R investigator is on scene.
Several partner agencies assisted us today, including Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Portland General Electric, and MetroWest Ambulance, who were on standby for any medical needs.