UPDATE: St. Paul firefighter dies after Thursday explosion, sheriff’s office says

Austin Smith (Courtesy/Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

UPDATE: A St. Paul firefighter died Thursday from injuries suffered in an explosion after responding to a barn fire in rural Marion County.

Austin Smith, 30 of St. Paul, was taken by Lifeflight to a Portland area hospital. “Tragically, he did not survive his injuries,” according to a news release updated Thursday afternoon.

Smith, a volunteer firefighter for the St. Paul Fire District since 2015, leaves behind his wife and extended family in the St. Paul area.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal are investigating the incident and determining whether it is safe for investigators to enter the scene. They haven’t yet determined the cause of the fire.

The sheriff’s office in the news release that no additional information was available.

“This is a tragic loss for our community and family. We are all heartbroken over this loss,” said St. Paul Fire District Chief Bryan Lee in the news release, “We appreciate the support from the community and public safety partners during this difficult time.”

Original story below:

A St. Paul firefighter was critically injured in an explosion after responding to a fire early Thursday morning, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office news release said Thursday morning.

A 911 caller at 4:08 a.m. reported seeing a building on fire on Northeast Champoeg Creek Lane near McKay Road. When St. Paul Fire District crews arrived they found a large large barn on fire, the release said.

Firefighters reported that an explosion happened during the fire, critically injuring one firefighter who was flown by Life Flight to a local hospital.

The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined, the news release said.

Crews from the Aurora Fire District, Mt. Angel Fire District, Woodburn Fire District, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Canby Fire District, Dayton Fire Department and Hubbard Fire District also responded to the incident.

Investigators from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal were called to the scene to investigate.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian