According to PPB, a man has been charged with arson after an apartment fire last week devastated a building in Southwest Portland, forcing out hundreds of inhabitants.
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— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) May 26, 2023
Garrett A. Repp, 30, a former tenant of the May Apartments, is accused of two counts of first-degree arson, eighteen counts of reckless endangerment of another person, and eleven counts of first-degree criminal mischief.
According to the papers filed in court, he was notified to vacate the residence on May 4 for not paying rent for three months. The structure collapsed the following day after a fire broke out at 10:43 a.m. on May 16 at the intersection of Southwest 14th Avenue and Southwest Taylor Street.
Two firefighters were hurt, and Interstate 405 was shut down most of the day. Both continued working, but the one with high blood pressure was transported to the hospital. Heavy flames were shooting up from the third story as the fire crews arrived.
According to PF&R’s Rick Graves, “fire blew out the windows,” though he added, “not certain if that was as a result of any ‘backdraft,’ but there were reports that fire aggressively broke out windows on the fourth floor.”
The fire department helped out people inside the building. Photos from the scene show firefighters assisting civilians and an animal down a fire truck’s ladder. The construction began to fall the day after firefighters had put out the last flames.
Paul Davis Restoration’s Doug Keller arrived at the scene on a Wednesday afternoon, just as the wall began to collapse, to supervise the installation of temporary fencing to keep the public out of the damaged area.
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When Keller “heard a bang and turned his head toward the building, he saw layers of brick just folding over the side hitting the sidewalk and little bricks hitting the road and bouncing,” he described the scene.
On Tuesday, firefighters and an arson dog entered the building to discover what started the blaze. According to the authorities, no humans were discovered, but a cat was found.
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