5-alarm Portland apt. building fire was arson

5-alarm Portland apt. building fire was arson

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 9:53 AM

PORTLAND -- Investigators announced Monday that a five-alarm fire at a Northeast Portland apartment complex last week was the result of arson.

The fire started in an apartment complex under construction on Northeast Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard around 4 a.m. The five-story building collapsed during the blaze.

Background: Investigators seek cause of 5-alarm Portland fire

The fire caused an estimated $5 million in damage, but Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Rich Chatman said it could have been much worse.

"At 4 o'clock in the morning, in a very residential area, there were a lot of people at home sleeping," he said. "So the fact that a fire that size was in that densely populated an area, we were very fortunate not to have any death or injuries."

Neighbor Alex Joyce told KGW he didn't understand how someone could deliberately do such a thing.

"Shocked," he said. "Sad that someone would put the lives of my neighbors and family at risk."

But he said the neighborhood will recover, and he hopes any potential property buyers weren't scared off by the fire.

"Brush the dust off and carry on," he said, "and the neighborhood will keep getting better and better."

Every available Portland firefighter and piece of equipment responded to the fire, including more than 120 firefighters.

Portland Fire & Rescue was working with the ATF to find the party responsible for the blaze. A $2,500 reward was offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Call 1-888-ATF-FIRE to report any tips.

 

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