Fireworks caused the July 4 apartment fire in Northeast Portland that killed two residents, according to Portland Fire & Rescue (PFR).
The fire engulfed almost the entirety of the Heidi Manor apartment complex on NE Weidler Street early Sunday morning, forcing several residents to jump from their balconies to escape. Roommates Seth Thompson, 31, and Robert Gremillion, 31, lived on the third floor of the apartment complex and died at the scene. Four additional people were injured during the fire, one of whom remains in critical condition, according to PFR.
PFR explained the fire had been ignited by fireworks in a press release sent Thursday afternoon, but offered no information about potential suspects. A PFR spokesperson told the Mercury the fire originated from a firework in a dumpster underneath the apartment carport.
The City of Portland and Multnomah County issued bans on the sale and use of fireworks prior to the July 4 holiday, citing unusually dry conditions in the metro area. According to PFR, these bans decreased the average number of fires during what they deem to be firework season—June 23 through July 6—by 80 percent this year.