PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Parents who were burned but saved their kids after an attacker set their Southeast Portland apartment on fire lost everything but are recovering, family members said.
Krystal and Mike – who are each 28 and asked to not have their last names revealed — were burned in the fire at the Anderson Villa Apartment Complex, 15820 SE Division, around 4:20 a.m. Saturday.
Krystal’s cousin, Stacy – whose last name is not being used by KOIN 6 News – said Mike suffered 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns over 12% of his body, while Krystal suffered only minor burns.
“They’re just a giving family, they’re loving,” she said.”They lost everything in the fire.”
They managed to rescue their two kids, Envy and Mikey, but just days before school is set, the kids have nothing.
“Envy starts 1st grade, supposed to be tomorrow (Tuesday) so we’ve been trying really hard to get the necessity things,” she said. The kids lost all their clothes and school supplies and “the basic hygiene stuff that we all take for granted every day.”
The suspect was an acquaintance of a friend, she said. Krystal and Mike had been out with friends and family at a local bar when they met the suspect. The group then went back to Krystal and Mike’s apartment. Their babysitter stayed.
“It just started to get too loud back at the house, so Krystal said, ‘The kids are sleeping, I think we just need to call it a night,'” Stacy said. “And they didn’t want to leave.”
She said it became a “physical altercation” and the suspect, Stacy said, “was yelling at them, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ but he had left.”
A while later, the suspect returned and kicked the door in, she said, and began pouring gasoline on Krystal and Mike.
“As soon as he got the door open, he just started spraying them,” she said. “He was trying to light them on fire, they’re trying to push him out the door.”
Krystal was first down the stairs with 4-year-old Mikey, and Mike carried 6-year-old Envy out through the flames. But his clothes were on fire, causing his severe burns.
Krystal was burned “in helping to put (his fire) out,” she said.
The resident who lives below their apartment told KOIN 6 News he heard a loud argument about 3 a.m. He woke up about an hour later to see flames outside his door.
Neighbors also said there is surveillance video of someone walking past the apartments with a gas can.
Joshua Aaron Bigsby, 28, was arrested early Monday morning, officials said. He faces 19 charges: 6 counts of first-degree arson, 6 counts of reckless endangering and 6 counts of first-degree criminal mischief. He is also charged with one count of 2nd-degree assault.
The investigation is ongoing.
Stacy described the fire as “a huge loss” for this close-knit family. “Although they have great family support, it’s just not quite enough.”
She said it will take Mike a while to recover in the burn unit. The kids, who were sleeping in the bedroom, were traumatized, she said.
“You see these things on the movies but you don’t expect it’s going to happen to your family,” she said. “Getting that phone call, it was horrible. It was horrible.”
The Red Cross came to their aid and got them a hotel.
“They don’t ask for help, they don’t ask for handouts,” Stacy told KOIN 6 News. “I know they’ll survive this but it’s going to be a struggle.”
A GoFundMe page has been posted to help Krystal and Mike’s children.