MT. ANGEL – A four-alarm fire destroyed four buildings early Saturday morning in Mount Angel.
The Mt. Angel Fire District was dispatched after officers from the Mt. Angel Police Department called for the discovery of a burning building in the 200 block of South Main St. at around 12:48 am.
“Two of my officers saw the start of the fire and responded,” said Mark Daniel, Mt. Angel Police Chief and Acting City Manager.
The initial fire occurred in a large grain elevator, Daniel said. This building was completely engulfed by the time the first engine arrived and further mutual aid was requested for assistance as the fire continued to spread.
The flames spread to a nearby building and the fire became so intense that radiant heat ignited one building to the north and another to the south, said Mt. Angel Fire Chief Jim Trierweiler, who is also captain of the Salem Fire Department.
Embers as big as golf balls flew up to four blocks from the blaze, so firefighters climbed to the rooftops and patrolled meters to make sure nothing ignites, Trierweiler said.
The buildings and businesses affected are The Blackbird Granary, an antique store; KP Harvesttime, a hazelnut company; Wood pellet stoves; and the Oregon Hidden Bed. “All four are pretty much a loss,” Trierweiler said on Saturday afternoon.
Teams from the Silverton Fire District, Woodburn Fire Department, Hubbard Fire Department, Monitor Fire, St. Paul Fire District, Chemeketa Community College Fire Program and from the Marion County Fire District provided assistance. Community members and Roth’s Fresh Markets and Safeway delivered water and food to rescuers.
“I’m in shock and have no words,” Blackbird Granary Antiques posted on Facebook. “My heart is broken and I pray that all firefighters are safe.”
A volunteer firefighter from Mt. Angel stepped on two nails. No other injuries were reported.
About 35 fire apparatuses were used in the response and 120 firefighters worked throughout the morning to fight the flames using more than 1 million gallons of water.
“Public works have intervened and we are pumping as much as they can to fill the reservoir” near Mount Angel Abby, Trierweiler said. Silverton crews also trucked in additional water.
Crews worked more than 13 hours later to extinguish ongoing hot spots and used heavy equipment to move heavy lumber and metal parts from collapsed buildings to extinguish remaining flames.
The cause of the fire is unknown and is being investigated by a Marion-Polk County team.