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Jan-03-2008 14:46printcomments

Fire Destroys Historic Nyberg House in Tualitan

The 102 year-old structure was once the home of the city's second mayor, John Nyberg.

Historic Nyberg House in Tualitan, Oregon on fire, 1-3-08
Photo courtesy: Tualitan Valley Fire & Rescue

(TUALITAN, Ore.) - Tualitan lost a piece of its founding history overnight as the historic Nyberg House, home of one of the city's early mayors, was destroyed by fire. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue was called out to the reported structure fire adjacent to the Big K Shopping Center off Nyberg Road in Tualatin at 11:30 PM.

Fire Spokesperson Karen Eubanks says the first arriving crews found heavy fire engulfing the first floor of the vacant and boarded-up historic Nyberg House, which is located an an overgrown piece of land near the I-5 and Nyberg Road interchange.

"Due to the heavy volume of fire throughout the first and portions of the second story, the threat of a roof collapse, and the longtime vacant status of the structure, firefighters fought the fire defensively from the exterior."

Eubanks says that because the house is known to have some transient activity, firefighters quickly searched an adjacent building next to the main house, but found no evidence of anyone inside. She says firefighters had more than just the fire to contend with.

"On scene, firefighters had to contend with energized power lines overhead. Once PGE arrived on scene and disconnected power to the overhead lines, TVF&R was able to utilize a truck with a 100 foot ladder to extinguish the remaining fire in the upper stories."

Firefighters continued to battle hot spots for hours throughout the historic structure, Eubanks said.

Approximately 25 firefighters responded to the incident. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and a damage estimate is unknown at this time. The 102 year-old structure was once the home of the city's second mayor, John Nyberg. Nyberg and his wife Ora built the home in 1905.

The house along with 126 acres of land along the Tualatin River was home to the Nybergs and their 10 children. In 1915 the family moved the three-story house a short distance to the west to its current site when I-5 was built. John served as mayor of Tualatin from 1918 to 1944.

The investigation into the cause of last night's fire in the Nyberg Historic House remains on hold due to concerns about the structural integrity of the fire-ravaged and water soaked structure, Eubanks said.

"Much of the concern stems from the fact that the roof has literally collapsed onto the second floor."

She says officials are currently discussing the possibility of bringing heavy equipment to the scene to remove the roof and portions of the building.

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