Investigators: Villebois Fire was ‘Incendiary’ but Not Necessarily Intentional

Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Oregon State Police, and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to look into the circumstances of the blaze that devastated an unfinished, three-story apartment complex in the Villebois neighborhood of Wilsonville almost exactly one month ago.

They’re now saying the March 31 fire has been deemed “incendiary,” meaning it was ignited by a person under circumstances in which it should not have been ignited. However, this does not mean the fire was set intentionally. They’re not sure about that yet.

“IMPORTANT NOTE: The fire has NOT been determined to be ‘arson,'” a press release from investigators said. “Arson refers to a crime in which a fire or explosion was set maliciously, intentionally or recklessly. Many details of the blaze — including intent — have NOT been determined at this time.”

No one was hurt in the fire, which broke out in the early morning hours, but dozens were displaced. Officials are now estimating the total damage at $10 million.

Investigators would like to identify a young man with a skateboard who is a possible witness to what happened. He was seen filming the fire with his smartphone.

Anyone who can help identify this witness is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 19-007264.

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