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Fire Damages Currency At Portland Federal Reserve Branch

November 1, 1994

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A fire at the Portland branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco damaged currency in a vault early Tuesday, while fire crews had to use a torch to cut through a vault door sealed by a time lock.

Welding slag from asbestos removal work in an upper vault fell through a vent into a sub-basement vault below, triggering the blaze about 5 a.m., said Neil Heesacker, Portland Fire Bureau spokesman.

Burning money was removed from the vault and doused.

Robin Rockwood, a bank spokeswoman, said only a small amount of currency was damaged.

″It was some new currency, some 20s. It was a real small percentage of our normal holdings,″ Rockwood said, adding that the singed bills would be destroyed and replaced, so there was no actual cash loss.

Heesacker said the government estimated damage to the building at $500,000.

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