Powellhurst-Gilbert apartments blaze blamed on fireworks

Officials still aren’t telling the cause of a July 2 fire that charred the same apartment complex, owned by a non-profit housing organization …

A youth, setting off illegal fireworks is what touched off the fire behind this Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood apartment complex.

Story by David F. Ashton; PF&R images

A fire that started around noon on August 4 at the Briarwood East Apartments displaced three adults and two children was blamed on a kid lighting illegal fireworks.

This is the second fire in about a month at this complex, located at 3302 SE 122nd Avenue, about a block north of SE Powell Boulevard, that is owned by Human Solutions, Inc. The fire there was one of three residential fires East Portland News covered on July 2: CLICK HERE to read about those incidents. The cause of that fire has not yet been revealed.

A contingent from PF&R Parkrose Training Station #2 come to get experience fighting an apartment fire.

On August 4, ten Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) units were dispatched to the second fire at 12:08 p.m.

“Multiple callers to the 9-1-1 Center reported heavy smoke issuing,” a PF&R spokesperson began. “Callers said they were unsure if there were people inside so an ambulance was also dispatched.”

First-arriving crews reported back to dispatchers that smoke was visible as they pulled into the area; and found fire from the rear of the one-story portion of the apartment complex.

Smoke still issues from this burning unit, as firefighters work to extinguish this fire.

“The configuration of these apartments, volume of fire, and proximity to other apartments gave the PF&R Incident Commander concern,” the fire bureau official said. “But, thanks to the aggressive fire attack from the first arriving crews the fire was knocked down quickly and did not extend to adjacent units.”

It wasn’t long until two PF&R Arson Unit Fire Investigators were on scene. After being on the case for most of the day, investigators announced “This fire started by a juvenile lighting illegal fireworks; enforcement action is being taken in this case.”

While some firefighters put out the blaze, others check to make sure other units don’t catch fire. Not soot on the eves of the front window: it’s a sign that the fire made its way inside the unit.

One person did sustain minor injuries; that individual was medically evaluated but refused to be taken to a local hospital.

If you have information about this “unintentional arson” fire, and have not spoken with investigators, email it to crimetips@portlandoregon.gov – and be sure to include that it’s regarding Case No. RP22-75870.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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