PORTLAND, Ore. — An arson investigation is underway after someone threw an explosive device at an occupied RV in Northeast Portland early Monday morning, according to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to reports of an RV fire shortly before 5 a.m. at Northeast 33rd Drive and Northeast Sunderland Avenue. The fire crews arrived to find that community members had already extinguished the flames with fire extinguishers.
The fire had been caused by some kind of explosive, firefighters learned. They called in arson investigators and Portland police to investigate.
“I got woke up to it, said Sheree Thomas DeClue, who was inside the RV when the explosion happened and escaped unharmed. “People telling me to get out of my motor home because it was on fire… If I would have had my propane tank on it would have blown me up.”
An initial investigation found that a suspect or suspects drove by in a large yellow box truck, possibly a rented moving truck, and either threw or rolled the explosive under the RV. Clare Riley who lives in a different RV was outside and saw it happen.
“It was a big fire ball and it rolled down,” said Riley “It just, boom! Explosion. Smoke and fire.”
Riley and others who asked to remain anonymous shared several stories of drivers firing BB and paintball guns at their vehicles, and also throwing eggs and canned beverages toward them.
“We’re not supposed to be out here but it’s not fair for them to be doing stuff like that thinking that they’re better than we are,” said Riley. “There’s a saying about them being one pay check away from being out here.”
Both PPB and PF&R are collecting any information, witness accounts, video or photos that would help with the investigation. Anyone with something to contribute can call the tip line 503-823-FIRE or email Detective Meredith Hopper at [email protected] and reference case #22-102510.
This is at least the second criminal case involving explosives in the city of Portland in the past three days.
During demonstrations in Northeast Portland to demand justice for Patrick Lyoya on Saturday night, police said that some demonstrators smashed windows and launched “explosive devices” at a Starbucks on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Several banks were also vandalized, police said.
No arrests were made during the march, but police said they are still investigating.