Fire apparently started in kitchen

An apartment fire in a four-plex at about 9:30 Thursday, May 8 in the 1900 block of Northeast Division Street displaced 10 adults and seven children from all four apartments, according to the American Red Cross.

The fire started in one of the two second-floor apartments, said Gresham Fire Battalion Chief Jason McGowan, who was at the scene, and he along with crews in five fire trucks and one incident truck responded to the complex where they put out the blaze and were on scene for about two hours.

The fire apparently started on a stove where a woman left something cooking and then went to the store, McGowan said. The apartment had heavy fire and smoke damage, but damage to the other three apartments was mostly from water. Estimated value of the property is $400,000 and damage is estimated at $120,000.

Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteers assisted displaced residents at the scene, said Thomas McCann of Red Cross Cascades Region. They worked with the families to meet their needs for lodging, clothing, food and other essentials, including medical supplies, for as long as needed.

“Some people don't need Red Cross assistance right away if they go to relative's or friend's house, but they might need it within a day or two,” McCann said. “We will provide immediate assistance as long as there is a need for food, lodging and clothing. And if they've lost prescription medication we will replace that as well as lost eyeglasses or dentures.”

Red Cross also brings in disaster relief nurses and certified mental health providers when needed, he said.

“Very often Red Cross will provide immediate assistance even if they have insurance,” McCann said, and the insurance company will reimburse Red Cross.

The people who were displaced by Thursday night's fire could be housed by Red Cross for several days, weeks or months, he said, depending on the individual situation.

“The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year, a statistic that opens a lot of eyes,” McCann said. “That's everything from the World Trade Center disasters to the Hurricane Katrinas to a single family fire.”

Red Cross depends on donations to do its work, McCann said, and more than 90 percent of donations goes directly to disaster relief. To learn more or make a contribution, go to

Story updated to include additional information.
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