PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A man faces arson charges after a Southwest Portland apartment building caught fire last week, leaving the building destroyed and dozens of residents displaced, according to PPB.
Police say previous May Apartments resident Garrett A. Repp, 30, is charged with two counts of first-degree arson, 18 counts of reckless endangering another person and 11 counts of first-degree criminal mischief.
Court documents indicate there was an eviction notice for Repp from the apartment on May 4 after failing to pay rent for three months.
The building at Southwest 14th Avenue and Southwest Taylor Street caught fire around 10:43 a.m. on May 16 and quickly became a four-alarm blaze that led to the building’s collapse the following day.
The fire closed I-405 for most of the afternoon and left two firefighters injured during the incident. One continued to work, and the other was taken to the hospital after experiencing high blood pressure.
When firefighters arrived, there was heavy fire coming from the third floor and extending to the fourth floor.
“Fire blew out the windows,” said Rick Graves with PF&R, adding he was “not certain if that was as a result of any ‘backdraft,’ but there were reports that fire aggressively broke out windows on the fourth floor.”
Firefighters helped evacuate people from inside the building. Photos of the scene show firefighters helping people and a dog down the fire truck’s ladder from an upper level of the building.
The following day, the building began to collapse after fire crews had extinguished the last hot spot earlier in the day.
Doug Keller with Paul Davis Restoration was already at the site Wednesday afternoon, waiting for their crew to get fencing up in the area to keep folks out as part of the wall crumbled.
“I was waiting next to my truck here, and all of a sudden, I heard a bang and turned my head toward the building and saw layers of brick just folding over the side hitting the sidewalk and little bricks hitting the road and bouncing,” Keller said.
On Tuesday, fire investigators — including an arson dog — entered the structure to determine the origin of the fire. Although no people were found inside, officials said they did find a cat.
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.