Victims’ families file lawsuit over deadly Heidi Manor blaze

Multnomah County

Investigators say the massive fire was caused by fireworks inside a dumpster near the building

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The families of two Northeast Portland men killed in an apartment fire over the Fourth of July weekend are now suing the apartment’s management company for $85 million.

Robert William Gremillion, 31, and Seth Robert Thompson, 31, were both killed when the blaze swept through Heidi Manor on NE Weidler in the early morning hours of July 4. Six other people were injured — including 25-year-old Kelsi Edmonds, who is still hospitalized with critical injuries.

Investigators determined the massive fire was caused by fireworks inside a dumpster alongside the building.

The families of the men and their two roommates — Edmonds and a man identified as Jonathan Kinney — are now suing the apartment’s owner, its management and maintenance company, along with the apartment’s contracted garbage and recycling company.

KOIN 6 News obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in the Multnomah County Court System. In the suit, the plaintiffs are claiming wrongful death, personal injuries and negligence.

When asked for a comment regarding the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Lucas issued the following statement:

“What happened to Kelsi, Seth, Bill, and Jonathan would not have happened if even the most basic precautions had been taken to make the tenants of Heidi Manor safe. If they had, then Seth and Bill would be alive today, and Kelsi would not be fighting for her life in the burn unit at Legacy Emmanuel.

“More than anything else, Jonathan and the families of Kelsi, Seth, and Bill want to make sure that what happened to them does not happen to anyone else. It should not be legal for apartments to operate in such an unsafe condition. Over 40% of people in Portland live in rental housing. At a minimum, they deserve a safe place to live that is not a firetrap.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as ATF, is offering up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deadly fire. Anyone with information regarding those responsible for the fire should contact ATF at 1.888.ATF.TIPS (888.283.8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website.

In addition to the ATF reward, Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest. Anonymous tips can be submitted online.

Tips can also be sent to Portland Police Bureau Detective Meredith Hopper at meredith.hopper@portlandoregon.gov.

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