MLK-Monroe apartment fire labelled arson.

“The five-alarm blaze that destroyed the six-story Monroe Apartments in Northeast Portland on August 8 was arson, investigators confirmed Monday afternoon.”

 

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KOIN: The under-construction apartments in the Eliot neighborhood broke out before 4:15 a.m. at the building project at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Monroe Street. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews responded to find a huge wall of flame filling the skyline. Twelve surrounding homes were evacuated.

About 15 minutes later the vacant building collapsed. The collapse was quick, with the walls caving in and embers flying in all directions. One of its walls pushed into an adjacent home, which set it on fire and eventually destroyed it.

A second home was also destroyed, and several others were damaged by radiant heat. At least one vehicle, a BMW, was destroyed.

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oregonlive.com: Fire Lt. Rich Chatman said it was very fortunate that no one was hurt in the densely packed, residential Eliot neighborhood, which is long one of Portland’s main north-south corridors.

Some striking photos of the fire itself are here.

Below, photos of partly melted bins across the street, and nearby trees, whose fire-facing leaves are all now dead.

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An Eliot neighbor laid out some thoughts about observing the fire, and how starting it is to meet neighbors in crisis-times when one doesn’t see them otherwise. (My block turned out for a drive-by shooting a couple of months ago; most of the folks I had never seen before.)