Firefighters Battle Intense Blaze at Highway 228 Shop

Kristy Tallman

A significant fire erupted at a shop along Highway 228 late Saturday night, drawing a substantial response from Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District and neighboring fire departments.

The fire was first reported at approximately 10:48 p.m. near the 40900 block of Highway 228. Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District, along with additional fire agencies, responded to the blaze, which consumed a 2100 square foot galvanized steel quonset hut type shop.

According to the Incident Commander, who arrived on scene within seven minutes, the structure was fully engulfed, with flames aggressively spreading through the entire building and exiting the roll-up door.

The intensity of the fire posed a threat to nearby structures, including multiple vehicles, a manufactured home, and several large fir trees. Crews swiftly initiated an attack to control the fire and protect these exposures. This operation required a coordinated effort, as the shop was located in an un-hydranted area, necessitating a tender shuttle operation for water supply. Sweet Home tenders were joined by units from Lebanon Fire and Brownsville Fire, showcasing a collaborative effort in battling the fierce blaze.

Linn County Sheriff’s Office played a crucial role in managing the situation, closing down Highway 228 to traffic to facilitate firefighting operations. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) later took over to maintain road closures, allowing fire apparatus to be strategically positioned for water supply.

Despite the challenges, firefighters successfully brought the fire under control within approximately one hour. However, the aftermath required crews to remain on site for nearly two more hours, performing extensive overhaul, ventilation, and preliminary investigation of the structure.

In total, nine fire apparatus and 18 firefighters were involved in the response. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Chief Tyler said, “The ice storm created major challenges for our crews. They experienced a substantial increase in call volume. We also had several structure fires. The crews were prepared and kept the damage to as little as possible. This is a huge testament to their training, dedication and preparedness.”

Tyler said all three fires appear to be unrelated and just an unfortunate coincidence.

With the bitter cold and power issues, Sweet Home Fire does want to remind people to be extremely careful with any open flames.