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Pendleton Explosion: 1 Killed After Fire Engulfs Old City Hall in Oregon

Image: Pendleton Explosion: 1 Killed After Fire Engulfs Old City Hall in Oregon
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By    |   Wednesday, 22 Jul 2015 10:27 AM

An explosion in the old Pendleton, Oregon, city hall building Tuesday morning killed one person as the ensuing fire engulfed the structure near the city's downtown area.

The building, which contained office space and housing units at the time of the explosion, burned for about two and a half hours before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, according to KEPR-TV.

The man killed in the fire has been identified as 25-year-old Eduardo Quezada, the television station noted. A second person injured in the fire incident was listed in critical condition and has not been identified.

According to a Pendleton Fire statement, emergency personnel transported Quezada to St. Anthony's Hospital where he died from his injuries. Two others were treated for smoke inhalation there.

Pendleton public safety director Stuart Roberts told the East Oregonian that firefighters successfully prevented the blaze from jumping to other buildings.

"The fire was racing hard to the northwest corner," he said. "It was moving pretty hard and hot."

The cause of the explosion and fire remains under investigation, though there was some speculation that it was sparked by a meth lab.

"Statements have been obtained from all of the persons who occupied the building at the time of the fire began," a Pendleton Fire release stated, according to KEPR-TV. "The aforementioned statements will be used to focus investigative efforts once the structure is deemed stable enough for investigative personnel to enter, and begin sifting through the debris . . . To date, there is no information that would indicate that the fire is/was the result of an active methamphetamine lab as has been speculated and/or reported."

The building served as Pendleton city hall until the mid-1990s, when the city government offices moved out and the structure was sold to a private owner, according to The Associated Press.

Jared Pennington, who operated a music studio in the building, told the East Oregonian that he was at the business when the explosion shook the building. Pennington told the newspaper that he ran outside the building and saw smoke pouring from upper windows.

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An explosion in the old Pendleton, Oregon, city hall building Tuesday morning killed one person as the ensuing fire engulfed the structure near the city's downtown area.
pendleton, explosion, oregon, city hall, fire, dead
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2015-27-22
Wednesday, 22 Jul 2015 10:27 AM
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