PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY — Sunday morning, June 24, about 45 PSU students were forced from their apartments when an unattended candle set the Cambrian Apartments on fire. The number of residents still displaced from their homes is down to “a handful.”
According to Dennis McCauliff, director of Housing Operations, about two to three people are still searching for a place to live. Initially, about 45 residents were displaced after the fire.
Cambrian residents got their wake-up call early in the morning. Firefighters had to activate the fire alarm to wake up the residents.
According to The Oregonian, the first call to 911 came in at 5:51 a.m. Fire crew had to tear down parts of the apartment to get the water inside.
The three-alarm fire started from an unattended candle on the fourth floor on the medicine cabinet of a resident.
Krystina Cruikshank, 19, cut her hand breaking the glass case of the fire extinguisher and was treated at the scene by fire medics, according to the Oregonian.
Last Thursday, two thirds of the building was re-occupied. Out of the total 34 units, 22 are currently occupied.
The 20 residents who had to relocate in Portland State’s Ondine dormitory had moved back into their Cambrian apartments Thursday. Only two or three students are still living in the Ondine dorms.
“We made significant process Friday and that will continue today,” McCauliff said.
On Friday, residents looking for places to live met with McCauliff as they look into studio rentals.
McCauliff said the challenge is that “we can offer only what we have.” Those who were not satisfied with the offer had to find their own housing. Some stay with friends, McCauliff said.
Most of the residents are being relocated to other College Housing Northwest campus housing.
“We’re not seeking criminal charges,” McCauliff said. The person who allegedly started the fire will have to face the insurance company, McCauliff added. That process is out of the control of College Housing Northwest.
“Right now, we focus on getting people places to live and dealing with the damage,” McCauliff said.
The fire department estimated the damage to the building and its contents is roughly $150,000. McCauliff said the insurance company has not confirmed this figure yet, nor does he know when they will.