PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland fire investigators said it’s possible fireworks caused a 4-alarm apartment fire that killed 2 people and injured 6 others, but no official cause of the blaze has yet been determined.
At a Sunday afternoon press conference, Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Sara Boone said the building did not have fire alarms or sprinklers and said the fire was “preventable.”
The blaze at Heidi Manor, 2226 Northeast Weidler, came in around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, officials said. When crews arrived they found two buildings fully involved. The fire was upgraded rapidly ultimately resulting in 4 alarms.
On Monday, PFR’s Rob Garrison said Boone “was referring to construction of older buildings and newer buildings. Obviously that was an older apartment complex. When that apartment was built, the fire code didn’t require it to have sprinklers. There’s been a big push for newer construction to have alarms and sprinklers.”
Everyone else in the blaze has since been accounted for. But there are pets that are missing.
Witnesses told investigators fireworks were heard in the vicinity of the apartment building but there is no confirmation that was the cause, according to PF&R.
Garrison said investigators received information there were fireworks in the area before the fire, but “they have not been able to confirm that’s the cause yet, but they’re looking into it. I’d say at this point it’s a possibility but nothing has been confirmed for sure.”
A week ago Chief Boone put a fireworks ban into place because of the extreme fire hazard in the region.
:I think this fire and the other fires over the weekend show that the fire hazard is very high and that’s why we’re asking people to not use fireworks this year,” Garrison said.
People in area before fire identified
The people who were seen near the area of a deadly fire that occurred at a Northeast Portland apartment complex over the weekend have been identified, police say.
On Monday morning, arson detectives released pictures of people seen in the area and asked for the public’s help in identifying them, saying they may have useful information. About two hours later, The PPB said the individuals have been identified and tips are no longer needed.
“The magnitude of this fire moved so quick that people had little time to escape and many did not,” said Fire Chief Sara Boone.” This is a tragic day for our City. I want to first acknowledge the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. I also want to praise the heroic efforts of the firefighters and residents that worked together to save so many victims under extreme conditions. If not for their efforts there would be a much greater loss.”
“This was a fire that had rapid fire spread through multiple units, people jumping out the window, people walking through, people that had coded,” she said.
She said there were power lines coming down while crews worked to extinguish the flames and at the peak, there were about 120 fire personnel at the scene.
A GoFundMe was created for one of the survivors, Willita Ross, who lost her home in the fire. To donate, visit GoFundMe.com.