City Hall fire

Firefighters from Umatilla County Fire District 1 prepare to enter Hermiston City Hall following reports of smoke coming from vents inside the building before 5 p.m. Tuesday. As a result of a fire in the building’s furnace, city hall will remain closed until Jan. 6. City staff have been relocated to nearby office space.

HERMISTON — Hermiston City Hall will be closed to the public until Jan. 6, following a Tuesday evening furnace fire that left the Northeast Second Street building with smoke damage.

Until cleanup is complete, according to a press release from the city, staff will be housed in the Hermiston Building Department, 215 E. Gladys Ave., across the street from the city hall building.

Some city staff, according to the release, have relocated to nearby office space and phone calls will be rerouted to their new locations.

City hall staff evacuated the building Tuesday afternoon after there were numerous reports of smoke coming from the vents inside.

Crews from Umatilla County Fire District 1 remained on scene for at least two hours that day, according to Fire Marshall Scott Goff.

“We’ve got an unknown failure in one of the heating appliances,” he said.

Goff added a fire was contained within a heating unit in the building, and the resulting smoke caused the majority of the issues that are keeping city hall closed.

He said the city hired a cleaning company to address the smoke odor.

“The fire department did a really good job of getting to city hall quickly and knocking out the fire,” Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith said. “We’re all thankful for their response.”

The furnace dates back to the building’s construction in 1965, according to the press release. The furnace involved in the fire will need to be replaced.

All city of Hermiston water, sewer and garbage bills can be paid online, and in-person payments for Hermiston Energy Services can be made at the Umatilla Electric Cooperative, 750 W. Elm Ave.

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