Residents in the Villebois community of Wilsonville awoke to a startling site in the early-morning hours of March 31, 2019. Just after 1a.m., multiple callers to 9-1-1 reported that a three-story apartment complex under construction in the 11000 block of SW Collina Lane in Wilsonville was engulfed in flames. A bright orange glow and column of smoke could be seen from several miles away.
The fire occurred in the Villebois community where condominiums, apartments and row homes are densely packed together. Within minutes, several neighbors living adjacent the growing blaze reported that the fire was spreading to their homes.
By 1:15 a.m., fire commanders called a third alarm to bring enough firefighters to the scene to evacuate residents, extinguish fires in occupied buildings, control the original fire and protect exposed buildings. In addition to TVF&R, fire crews from Lake Oswego Fire Department, Canby Fire District, Aurora Fire District and Portland Fire & Rescue worked through the night. The fires were considered under control around 4a.m.
Firefighters remained at the site through Sunday morning to keep the burned pile of debris cool. They also watched to be sure hot spots don’t flare up at nearby homes that were burned. At least twenty occupied condominiums sustained significant fire damage or will be considered a total loss. Dozens more had blown out windows or siding damage due to the intense radiant heat from the original fire. An additional construction shack, some construction equipment and approximately 14 cars and trucks were destroyed.
Many people were displaced because of this fire. Fortunately, none were injured. Those who aren’t staying with friends or family are being assisted by the American Red Cross who provides temporary housing and vouchers for food, medicine or other necessities. So far, approximately 25 people have been helped. For neighbors who need support who aren't already in touch with the American Red Cross, please call (888) 680-1455.
Deputies from Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will be lead on this investigation with support from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Oregon State Police. Together, we will continue the investigation to determine where and how this significant fire started. The site where the main fire occurred is being fenced for security, and nearby homes that sustained damage are being boarded up. Deputies will be stationed at the site at all times throughout the week. There will also be increased patrols in Villebois. Any displaced victims who have not already received assistance and need help with temporary housing or essentials can contact the American Red Cross at (888) 680-1455. TVF&R is grateful for assistance from the American Red Cross, the City of Wilsonville, Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (9-1-1), Wilsonville PD (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office), PGE, NW Natural, and Clackamas County.