PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A second person was found dead inside an apartment ravaged by fire in the early hours of Sunday, officials with Portland Fire & Rescue said Monday.
The body of the second person was confirmed by fire investigators more than 24 hours after the initial report one person died in the blaze at Cape Manor Apartments, 9815 NE Glisan Street,
Around 3 a.m. Sunday, PF&R rushed to the scene where heavy fire was showing from the apartment. One person was found inside and pulled out by firefighters, but died at the scene.
Officials said the fire was out about an hour later. Initially, 10 adults and 15 kids were reportedly left without a home, but later the Red Cross said 3 adults and 12 kids were displaced. A firefighter suffered minor injuries but was treated and released.
Fire inspector Ron Rouse said investigators are “starting from the outside of where they believe the fire started and we’re going to methodically work our way inside” as they look for clues on how it began.
He said investigators may be on the scene for “possibly days” to figure out the cause.
Neighbors: what happened here is heartbreaking
A woman, who lives at an apartment complex across the street said she heard what sounded like an explosion during the fire.
Stephanie McNally said there was so much smoke in the air at first that she thought her own building was on fire. While the fire may have started in one unit, McNally believes the explosion damaged at least 2 neighboring units.
When Misty Munoz first saw the fire, she said she “was a nervous wreck because I was, like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s children over there.'”
She said she heard a loud explosion right before the unit went up in flames. “It was loud, very loud.”
Patricia Hart described the incident as “heart wrenching,” even more now that a second person was found inside.
“That just tears my heart,” she told KOIN 6 News.
Barie Stenseth is relieved his apartment is OK, but he’s anxious for answers.
“If it’s, like, on purpose, it would be scary to live here,” he said. “Just crazy.”
Inspector Rouse said investigators are actively trying to determine what caused this fire.
“That’s going to take awhile and that’s why this investigation is ongoing,” Rouse said.
He added it’s a “very active investigation” that includes the police, but that’s not unusual.
“All fire deaths in Portland are investigated as a crime until there’s proof that there’s no ciminality,” Rouse told KOIN 6 News. “This is just standard procedure.”