‘Friday I had everything, Sunday I had nothing’

Multnomah County

Heidi Manor fire, caused by fireworks, killed 2, critically injured another

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Perry Luarca moved to the Heidi Manor apartments about 18 months ago. Before that he was homeless. Now, after a 4-alarm blaze destroyed the complex and killed 2 men, he is homeless again.

“Friday I had everything and then Sunday had nothing,” Luarca told KOIN 6 News. “It’s still hitting me.”

Red Cross officials said they’ve helped 11 families with food, clothing and finding a place to stay since the fire displaced about 36 people. Luarca said the Red Cross gave him $500, which bought him 3 nights in a motel and some food.

Perry Luarca lost everything when a blaze destroyed the Heidi Manor apartments in Northeast Portland, July 8, 2021 (KOIN)

But he’s homeless again.

“It’s pretty rough. It’s hard to get off the street, to get yourself situated in order to work, to getting off,” he said. “At least I have my van.”

His van has a small couch inside. But he said he slept on the floorboard Wednesday night and didn’t even have a pillow or blanket.

“It wasn’t that cold last night.”

He’s thankful he still has his cell phone. He’s used it to make several calls to try and replace daily essentials like his medication. He also said the apartment complex management sent an email to him 2 days after the fire.

“Yesterday they sent an email and it said, ‘You’re welcome to your deposit and any rent checks that were mailed this month,'” he said.

Luarca is working with a Portland case worker to help find another apartment but said it’s likely one won’t be available for another few months.

GoFundMe for fire victim Perry Luarca

He’s thankful he still has his cell phone. He’s used it to make several calls to try and replace daily essentials like his medication. He also said the apartment complex management sent an email to him 2 days after the fire.

Signs memorialize the men who died in a blaze at the Heidi Manor apartments in Northeast Portland, July 8, 2021 (KOIN)

“Yesterday they sent an email and it said, ‘You’re welcome to your deposit and any rent checks that were mailed this month,'” he said.

But he considers himself blessed and said his heart goes out to the families of the 2 men who died in the fire.

Fire investigators determined the fire started in a Dumpster near the carport on the property. Luarca said he often complained to the building owner about the location of that Dumpster.

“A lot of people complained about why it was there so close to the apartments,” he said “It should’ve never been in a carport. Several people complained. I complained the day before this happened.”

Two people died in a 4-alarm blaze that destroyed the Heidi Manor apartments on NE Weidler in Portland, July 4, 2021 (KOIN)

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