New Portland, Oregon fire boat sees action with Christmas ship fire two hours after going in service. Eldon Trinity funded after 2009 tragedy showed response issue.


A moored Christmas Ship caught fire on the Willamette River just south of the Hawthorne Bridge Thursday night, providing a rescue opportunity for Portland’s newest fire boat.

The fire began just before 7 p.m. at the Riverplace Marina on the waterfront, where a busy boardwalk of onlookers and several spectators from yacht parties watched the smoke spread and the flames quickly get out of control.

Portland Fire Boat 17, aka the Eldon Trinity, arrived shortly after with firefighters who boarded the burning 32-foot trawler and put the blaze out in minutes.

The Eldon Trinity was dedicated Dec. 7 in honor of two young children–Trinity Smith, 7, and her 4-year-old brother Eldon Smith–who were thrown from the Sellwood Bridge into the Willamette River by their mother on May 23, 2009.

Eldon Smith did not survive that fall, and the time it took Portland Fire to make a river response prompted the Portland City Council to fund a high speed emergency boat.

Video above is from the December 7 dedication ceremony.