Reed College student dies from injuries suffered in apartment fire

Reed College student in ICU after fire

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Reed College student has died from injuries she suffered in an apartment fire over the weekend. 

The fire occurred at an off-campus Southeast Portland apartment Sunday morning. Two students were hurt, including Mara Gibbs, who was pulled out of the burning apartment by firefighters and initially suffered critical injuries.

In an email sent to students and faculty on Tuesday, Reed College President John R. Kroger confirmed Gibbs' death.

"This is a sudden and shocking loss to the entire community. Our deepest sympathies go out to Mara’s family, roommates, friends and all those who are mourning her today," Kroger's email read. "Mara’s mother has told us that the relationships that Mara forged during her time at Reed were the most meaningful she has ever had. She is thankful that Mara found such close, loving, and caring friends."

A community gathering for family and friends is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Student Union.

According to Portland Fire and Rescue officials, the fire was reported at approximately 5:15 a.m. at the Garden Park Apartments on Southeast 30th Avenue just north of Steele Street. Gibbs' roommate, Miranda McGough, got treatment for smoke inhalation and was ok.

According to 911 dispatch audio obtained by KGW, there were reports of thick, black smoke and three people trapped in a bedroom.

Neighbor Morgan Garrett woke up to a crackling sound.

"When I came out to the front, that building was fully engulfed in flames all the way to the top," Garrett said.

Garrett says Garden Park houses many Reed College students.

Two people jumped from a second story window to escape the flames.

"The girls were literally in police blankets, they didn't have any clothes so me and my wife gave them some clothes," Garrett explained.

Gibbs was the one trapped inside. The two firefighters who were first on scene rushed in to find her in the flames.

Investigators are figuring out what caused the fire. Friends have set up a YouCaring website to help pay for medical bills, and replace belongings lost in the fire.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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