Police and fire investigators have completed their initial probe into the three-alarm fire that destroyed a large commercial building at the former Blue Heron Paper Mill in Oregon City on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the significant damage to the property thwarted the investigation.
“The manner in which the building collapsed under extreme fire conditions has hampered the ability of investigators to conduct an in-depth scene examination at this time,” Clackamas Fire said in a press release Monday afternoon.
Clackamas Fire said its investigators are coordinating with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which owns the mill property, to continue investigating the scene and also facilitate the removal of fire debris.
The fire district is also working with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon City Police Department to investigate the incident.
Investigators remain unsure as to the exact cause of the fire, though one man who was located on scene at the time the fire broke out was arrested and has been charged with second-degree arson, among other crimes.
Enrique Omar Mejia, 29, was reportedly observed by both civilian witnesses and Oregon City Police throwing furniture and other items from the second floor of the building just before the fire broke out on the afternoon of Dec. 5.
Mejia was located within the perimeter established by law enforcement and arrested at the scene without incident. Mejia has a lengthy criminal record of mostly misdemeanor offenses, including disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, harassment and criminal trespass.
He remains in custody at the Clackamas County Jail as of Tuesday morning. His bail has been increased to $100,000.
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