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Published: Monday, 4/24/2006

Cause of fire in Oregon was electrical

A fire at Kingston Court Apartments that displaced over 20 families Saturday night was caused by electrical problems, acting Oregon fire chief Ken DeWitt said yesterday.

The fire heavily damaged three third-floor units at 3155 Navarre Ave. Others sustained heat, smoke, and water damage. Residents in an adjacent building, 3153 Navarre, were evacuated as well. Chief DeWitt would not say what kind of electrical problems caused the blaze.

Chief DeWitt said the fire started in one of the third-floor units. He said an earlier report that the fire may have started by two men trying to throw burning items over a balcony was unfounded.

"We didn't witness anything like that," Chief DeWitt said. "The state fire marshal's office said it was definitely electrical."

The chief estimated the fire caused about $425,000 damage. 3155 Navarre was apparently closed to residents yesterday afternoon. Residents of 3153 Navarre were seen coming in and out, but it was unclear whether they were allowed to stay or just gathering belongings.

A woman who claimed to work for the complex refused to answer questions.

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