Heidi Manor Apartment Fire: 4 killed, Several injured in Apartment Complex with No Sprinklers
A fire at the Heidi Manor Apartments at left two people dead and several others injured. Some residents had to jump out of upper-level apartments to escape the flames. According to one witness, Barbara LaMorticella a “glow” was coming from the Heidi Manor Apartments near Northeast 22nd Avenue and Weidler Street. The Heidi Manor Apartment Fire occurred at about 3:00 am.
When recounting the Heidi Manor Apartment Fire, she recalled: “I phoned 911 and by the time the conversation was over, the whole thing went up like a torch,” she said. “It was so fast, it just blazed so fast.”
LaMorticella evacuated with the help of Portland police, but not before she saw a man who was burned and half-clothed, laying in the driveway of the Heidi Manor apartment complex. 64-year-old Patricia Patterson and her 19-year-old granddaughter Andrea also reportedly fled the apartment fire by jumping from the top floor of the complex. Other residents, Willita Ross and Dewayne Perry, stated that they received a call at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, warning them that the Heidi Manor apartment complex, was up in flames. According to reports: “When we walked out of the apartment, the whole entire upstairs floor was engulfed in flames,” Ross described.
Because of the age of the complex, the Heidi Manor Apartments did not have sprinklers and, based on reports from residents about being awoken by neighbors (as opposed to a fire alarm) about the fire, does not appear to have been equipped with working smoke alarms. The Heidi Manor Apartments were apparently built in 1971, long before sprinklers were required in multi-family housing units. Generally, sprinklers are not required under the code unless there is a “substantial addition” to the structure. What qualifies as “substantial addition” is sometimes up for debate. NFPA 13 is the industry standard for apartment sprinkler design and installation. Whether or not the Heidi Manor Apartment Fire was caused by building code violations will be addressed by local and state code enforcement officials, insurance companies, and apartment fire lawyers hired by tenants or the building owners.