Public Information Officer
Clackamas Fire District #1
The following is a news release from Clackamas Fire District #1
Early Tuesday morning, the OSP Arson Investigation Team met with investigators from Clackamas Fire and began to piece together what happened last night at the Watkins Park Apartments. They determined that the fire was intentionally set and were also able to obtain evidence to build upon the case. The scene was turned back over to the Apartment Management and the residents will be allowed back into their apartments.
At this time, Oregon State Police will be handling the investigation and they ask if anyone has any information regarding the fire or the dark colored vehicle seen leaving the scene you can call the OSP Hotline at 1-800-452-7888 with any information. More information will be released when appropriate.
On December 20, 2011 at 1:18 a.m., Clackamas Fire units were called to a possible fire at the Watkins Park Apartments located on SE 82nd Drive just south of Highway 212/224. The 9-1-1 caller reported the fire was trapped inside his apartment due to the fire and smoke in the stairwell outside his front door. Firefighters were able to reach both upstair apartments and rescue one person from each apartment. One of those victims was taken to the hospital with conditions related to smoke inhalation and the other person was treated on scene and refused transportation to the hospital.
The fire was extinguished by the time the first engine company arrived on scene. Apparently a neighbor was able to get a fire extinguisher and get the fire knocked down. There was moderate damage to the exterior of this complex inside the stairwell.
Witnesses said they heard a "commotion" just before the fire broke out and a car was reported leaving the scene quickly as people were coming out of their apartments. Clackamas Fire investigators were on scene through the night interviewing witnesses and taking photographs. Oregon State Police will be assisting Clackamas Fire investigators along with Clackamas County Sheriffs Office.
Firefighters reported that they did not hear any smoke alarms as they were rescuing people from their apartments. This is worrisome according to Clackamas Fire District Fire Marshal Mark Cauthorn, "working smoke alarms provide that early warning that there may be a fire and if none of these apartments had a smoke alarm, this could have been a much more tragic scenario".