Determining Oregon Hotel Fire Cause Could Take a Week

September 6, 2012

Federal investigators will be helping to determine what caused a five-alarm fire that destroyed a vacant hotel in north Portland, Ore.

The Oregonian reports that the crew from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives includes chemists and arson dogs. ATF spokesman Chris Porreca said Tuesday the team is investigating all possible causes of the fire that started early Sunday at the Thunderbird on the River hotel.

ATF and Portland fire officials say it likely will take at least a week to determine the cause. Damage has been estimated at $5 million.

The hotel had been vacant since 2005, but was used as a storage area for mattresses and other furniture.

Multnomah County property records show it was built in 1971, sold in 2002 by Red Lion Hotels Inc. and then sold again in 2004 to Thunderbird Hotel LLC, the current owner.

The county tax department says the company owes the county more than $1 million in property taxes and hasn’t paid since 2008.

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