Ore. railroad trestle collapses, pins firefighter's leg

Firefighters used a chain saw to free his leg and the firefighter was able to walk with help to a waiting ambulance


The Oregonian

TUALATIN, Ore. — A little-used wooden train trestle that caught fire Monday collapsed in two places early Tuesday morning, officials said.

A firefighter who was part of a four-person crew fighting the fire on the trestle fell through a portion of the structure and his leg became trapped, but he wasn't seriously injured.

Fellow firefighters used a chain saw to free his leg and the firefighter was able to walk with help to a waiting ambulance, said Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Alisa Cour. He was taken to an area hospital for an evaluation.

The 85-year-old Portland & Western railroad trestle caught fire at 4:20 p.m. and flames spread to grass and brush below.

The 600-foot long, 50-foot high trestle began to partially collapse around 6 p.m.

About a third of the structure remained standing early Tuesday and the rest was expected to collapse as firefighters continued to monitor the fire near Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Langer Farms Parkway.

Officials said their goal was to protect homes and property in a neighborhood to the south of the trestle.

They asked people to avoid the area and for nearby homeowners and residents to keep their windows and doors shut because of the heavy smoke.

Southwest Tualatin Sherwood Road remains open to traffic, officials said.

Portland & Western released a statement saying the cause of the fire is under investigation. No employees were working near the bridge at the time of the fire, the statement says.

Railroad business won't be affected because of the collapsed trestle, the company said. It hasn't determined whether to rebuild the trestle.

"Portland & Western is grateful for the quick response of local first responders and wish a full and speedy recovery to the firefighter who was reported injured," the statement says. 

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