Investigators enter badly damaged Portland apartment building one week after fire
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Tuesday, investigators went into the May apartments for the first time since flames tore through the building, forcing dozens of people from their homes.
Crews have been concerned about the safety of the structure and have yet to determine a cause of the fire.
Investigators were in and out of the building all day. First, going into the room where they believe the fire started to determine how the investigation should move forward.
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Members of their technical rescue team also took measurements in the building so they could build supports for a nearby room for them to work in safely.
Rick Graves, the spokesperson for Portland Fire and Rescue, said there will be spotters outside to keep an eye on the stability of the building as investigators work inside. He said they need to use special tools to avoid being in an unstable part of the building for too long and take things out of the room for them to inspect.
“If appropriate and successful entry can occur into the believed area of origin, there will be work done,” said Graves. “But it will be done in short bouts of time and not extended periods of time. Our primary concern today is that everyone who shows up to work today, shows up tomorrow.”
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He said they’ll likely pull things from rubble on the third floor to inspect and hopefully, determine a cause.
“The idea is to remove some of the items that have fallen from an area that was not a part of the origin and covered up the origin that will allow them to have a physical viewing of that area,” said Graves. “As well as the ability to remove some of that and determine if there were accelerants involved as well. that’s all projection, that’s my guess.”
Graves said it’s going to be a while before investigators can find the cause. With plans to chemically test items they remove from the building. Which could include appliances, to see if any could be to blame for sparking the blaze.
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