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  • 24 Oct 2014

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Firefighters injured in Oregon City blaze

Photo Credit: KOIN 6 NEWS - An Oregon City fire burned through multiple businesses within a single building Wednesday morning.A third-alarm fire raged inside an Oregon City commercial building Wednesday morning and spread to several businesses before a swarm of firefighters were able to bring it under control.

More than 60 firefighters from Clackamas County and Portland began fighting back flames in the 1000 block of Molalla Avenue around 5 a.m. Within the first hour, the fire had reached three separate businesses within a single building, according to fire officials.

Firefighters let the fire burn and fought it from the outside – what Clackamas Fire District Lt. Jed Wachlin called a “defense fire.”

One firefighter was transferred to hospital with minor burns, while the other was treated on scene for his injuries. He was treated and released later in the day.

“Both of them called for a mayday,” said Wachlin. “They were covered with some debris.”

One firefighter — who weighs more than 200 pounds — had to be carried out, while the other was able to walk out.

“It is a very powerful,” Wachlin said. “To throw those gentlemen back is a great deal of force.”

The explosion extended 19 feet, and both firefighters were picked up off the ground and thrown ten feet back. Wachlin said a backdraft “literally blows anything and anybody in its way out.”

The fire was largely out by 6:30 a.m., with fire crews surveying the building, its roof and the surrounding area for any hot spots.

Power lines are down near the building, but no cause for the fire has been given.

“I have customers and no where to work,” said 11-year Head to Toes Salon worker Vickie Barnes.

Roughly 20 people rent chairs in the salon, and the building’s three businesses form a tight knit community, she said.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “All my product, all my cusomters’ list, names and stuff — it’s gone.”

Power lines are down near the building, but no cause for the fire has been given. Damage estimates could take some time, according to Wachlin.

Molalla Avenue was shut down in both directions near the scene.