On Friday(19 May 2023), investigators began looking into the cause of the fire that destroyed the May Apartments in southwest Portland.
Days after the horrific fire, southwest 14th Avenue is still covered in ash and rubble. “Just to think about the fact I was sleeping there just a few days ago is pretty scary,” René Montero-Dugger, who survived the fire, said.
Montero-Dugger expressed disbelief at the loss of her former residence and the memories it held.
A video, “Portland Fire Victims Begin the Journey,” was also posted by kptvfox12.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” she said. “I think at this point, my brain hasn’t even fully comprehended the fact that I no longer have a home or any of my things. All of my family photos were in there. A lot of my childhood is now gone because this place has burned down.”
Investigators from Portland Fire & Rescue are working to determine the origin of the devastating fire. Drones from the Scappoose Fire District are useful because they can be used to make 2D and 3D maps of the area around and inside the structure. Drones help them analyze fire behavior and determine where people should be evacuated from.
“It’s too dangerous for folks to enter the building,” Scappoose Fire Chief Jeff Pricher said. “We’re hoping to utilize some technology to get into the building to capture the images the fire investigators need.”
Montero-Dugger, along with her dog Winston and the other survivors, is still trying to put their lives back together after the disaster.
“They’ve put so much effort into it automatically and I’m so grateful they’re looking into it,” she said. “I’m very fortunate in the fact that I have friends that can take care of me and I can lean on them. But I know a lot of people maybe don’t have the same support system I have. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for them.”
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She is urging everyone affected to make themselves eligible for the monies by adding their names as beneficiaries on the official GoFundMe website.
“The GoFundMe is thankfully already, I believe, at $15,000,” Montero-Dugger said. “As long as residents can get to that and add themselves as a beneficiary, everyone should be taken care of, at least to a degree.”