One person died and two others were injured in a fire at the Garden Park Apartments, just north of the Reed College campus, across S.E. Steele Street at 30th Avenue, in the early hours of Sunday, February 5.
"At approximately 5:15 a.m., the first arriving engine company reported heavy flames from the back side of at least one upstairs apartment unit," reported Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Public Information Officer Lt. Tommy Schroeder.
The PF&R Battalion Chief on-scene quickly called for a "second alarm" to bring additional units and personnel to the scene, Schroeder said, because of the high volume of fire involvement, and the probability of occupants inside sleeping at that time of the morning.
Firefighters made a rapid initial attack on the blaze while simultaneously coordinating a search and rescue operation. "The search crews were able to remove one fire victim from the unit," Schroeder said. "Two occupants were able to escape the fire on their own by jumping from a second story window. One of those individuals has been released from the hospital. The other patient is still under observation at the hospital. A secondary search verified the apartment was then clear of occupants."
The three women caught in the burning apartment complex, not affiliated with the school, were all Reed College students.
The person trapped in a bedroom, and carried out by firefighters, was Margalit "Mara" Gibbs, later revealed Reed College President John Kroger.
The other two occupants, Miranda McGough and Hattie Dalzell, suffered minor injuries and were released from medical care.
"At this point, investigators have not found anything that appears to be suspicious," later remarked PF&R's Lt. Rich Chatman.