Fire damages food carts near PSU, cause undetermined

A fire broke out July 21 just after 4:30 a.m., damaging and destroying several food carts near the Portland State campus.

The fire affected a row of food carts on a popular pod located across from the Engineering Building on Southwest 4th Avenue between College Avenue and Hall Street. Portland Fire Station 4 is located nearby at 5th and College Avenue, so response time was very short, according to a press release from the City of Portland Fire & Rescue Department.

The news release reported that six total food carts were damaged by the fire. Carts affected include Comfortably Yum, Rice and Noodle, Krua Bangkok, Fusion Box and Phat Cart.

Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Rich Tyler said representatives were on the scene July 27 to continue investigation into the cause of and damage by the fire.

As of Monday afternoon, Tyler said, “Our investigators have determined that [the fire] did start outside the food cart.”

“Propane tanks were not involved in the ignition,” he continued. He added that any other aspects of the fire remain undetermined. This includes the total cost of damages.

The news release mentioned that propane tanks—which are typically used in food carts—vented for more than an hour following the fire. Tyler clarified that this is in accordance with manufacture specifications, as propane tanks are designed to vent when exposed to increased external heat caused by a fire. This is a safety function meant to keep the tanks from exploding, and the carts’ tanks functioned properly in the case of this fire.

The newly installed PSU Parklet—which stands within feet of the affected carts—was not damaged in the event.

The food carts not damaged by the fire remain open, and patrons utilized the Parklet Monday afternoon.

Additional reporting by Turner Lobey.