Man charged with murder, arson after NE Glisan fire

Two people died in the fire

Ryan Thomas Monaco, July 27, 2017 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Ryan Thomas Monaco, July 27, 2017 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was arrested Thursday in connection with the fire on NE Glisan Street that killed two people on Sunday morning. 

Ryan Thomas Monaco, 28, faces charges of aggravated murder and arson in the first degree. Police said detectives investigating the crime do not believe this was a random act.

Two people died in this fire at Cape Manor Apartments on NE Glisan in Portland, July 23, 2017 (KOIN)
Two people died in this fire at Cape Manor Apartments on NE Glisan in Portland, July 23, 2017 (KOIN)

Monaco is being held at the Multnomah County Jail and may face more charges.

Court documents show the victims were roommates of Monaco’s on-and-off girlfriend. She told detectives they had an argument and after she left, he called to say he soaked her couch with gasoline — something he later admitted to investigators.

Neighbors who escaped the fire were stunned to hear he is accused of starting the fire.

“I mean, he wasn’t really that bad of a guy,” Shaymah Mohamed told KOIN 6 News.

“He’s really quiet, you know, really quiet,” Khalid Mohamad said. “He’s really nice.”

The Mohamads said Monaco was dating someone who lived in the building and used to live there too, but hasn’t for a while.

Investigators believe the fire started on the outside but they have not said the cause.

One person was pulled out of the burning building and died at the scene as firefighters rushed to fight the heavy fire and the other was found dead inside. The victims have not yet been identified but the Mohamads said they were roommates.

The fire displaced 15 people living in the Cape Manor Apartments at 9815 NE Glisan Street.

Monaco appeared in court Friday morning but did not enter a plea. The father of one of the victims spoke in court, saying his son was studying at PSU on scholarship.