Controversy over State Park reservations -Tonight on FOX43 News At Ten

TriMet bus driver commended for saving family from fire on his way to work

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Portland, Oregon (KPTV) — A TriMet bus driver was in the right place at the right time to save a family from a fire on his way to work.

TriMet commended the work of Justin Clemens on Monday. The agency received an email recently outlining his heroic actions the morning of Jan. 2.

Clemens was driving to work for his morning shift at the Powell Operations Facility when he decided to first grab breakfast at Jack in the Box. As he was detouring from his normal route, Clemens decided to take a trip through his old neighborhood near Southeast 137th Street.

That’s when he saw flames shooting out of a home’s chimney. He said the flames were 6 feet high.

Clemens pulled over, called 911 and then ran to the house.

“I was woke up by a man in a TriMet uniform knocking on my bedroom window telling me my house was on fire and I needed to get out now,” the homeowner John wrote in a commendation sent to TriMet.

The homeowner and his wife grabbed their daughters, ages 3 and 4 years old, and got out of the house, where Clemens was waiting. He told the family to put the girls in his car so they could keep warm.

Firefighters arrived moments later and got control of the fire.

“My family owes him a debt we couldn’t possibly repay,” wrote John.

John wrote that TriMet is lucky to have such an excellent employee.

“To be honest, I am a religious person, and I believe God directed me to go that way,” Clemens said.

Clemens has received nine community commendations during his four years driving for TriMet. The most recent one was on Valentine’s Day when a mother wanted the agency to know how much she appreciated Clemens waving to her son, who happens to be a big bus enthusiast, while waiting at a traffic light.

Friday is Transit Driver Appreciation Day, so TriMet is encouraging riders to say “thank you” to their drivers, or download a card at, post a comment on TriMet’s Facebook page or tweet a message with #tdad.