A public memorial for Oregon firefighter Austin Smith scheduled for Saturday


A public memorial service will be held Saturday for a St. Paul volunteer firefighter who died of injuries sustained in a barn fire explosion in northern Marion County.

Family, friends and first responders plan to honor Austin Smith with a procession and memorial service on the St. Paul Rodeo grounds.

Smith, 30, was one of multiple St. Paul Fire District volunteer firefighters who responded to a barn fire on Champoeg Creek Lane NE near McKay Road near Champoeg early Thursday.

Firefighters said the explosion occurred during the fire, seriously injuring Smith. He was taken by helicopter to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital where he died later the same day.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Previous cover:St. Paul firefighter dies from injuries sustained in explosion at barn fire in Marion County

Smith, whose family roots in St. Paul go back decades, leaves behind a wife and extended family, officials said.

He had been a volunteer in the district since 2015. He also served as president of St. Paul Jaycees, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the St. Paul community.

“This is a tragic loss for our community and our family. We are all heartbroken,” said St. Paul Fire District Chief Bryan Lee.

St. Paul Fire District Captain and Public Information Officer Mark Daniel described Smith as a serviceman. Daniel and Smith started at the fire district after completing fire training together.

“He had his whole life ahead of him,” Daniel said. “He was a good guy. I can’t express the feeling of loss. This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often and it’s an absolute tragedy.”

The memorial, planned by the St. Paul Fire District and the Oregon State Fire Marshal, will likely include a large first responder presence with several pieces of equipment. Agencies planning to attend are asked to complete a contact form at forms.gle/hDqSiJumCRaTu59n6 by the end of the day on Tuesday, February 8.

If you plan to go

The memorial is open to the public. It will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 12 at the grounds of St. Paul Rodeo, 4174 Malo Ave NE.

Those with questions about the memorial can contact Public Information Officer Gert Zoutendijk at 503-807-8207.


In lieu of flowers, the Smith family is asking for donations to the St. Paul Fire District or GoFundMe account for family expenses.

Donations to St. Paul’s Fire District can be made via stpaulfire.org/donate or mailed to: St. Paul’s Fire District, 4233 Church Ave NE, PO Box 1, St. Paul, OR 97137.

Those wishing to donate to the Smith family can do so through the family’s GoFundMe page at tinyurl.com/2p8z2sy8

Virginia Barreda is the breaking news and public safety reporter for the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at 503-399-6657 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2.


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