PENDLETON, Ore.- Crews responded to a house fire around 6:09 a.m. Sunday morning within about two minutes of getting the call. Two adults and three children died and two more adults are in critical condition at a Portland hospital.
Monday, the Pendleton Fire Department worked on recovering the remains of the five victims in the home on the 1200 block of SE. Court Place.
The Oregon State Police Arson Division along with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping in the investigation. Monday, they sent in a K-9 to look for accelerants.
"Looking into every potential outcome so that means from intentionally set, to a reckless burn, to some kind of structural issue with the residence itself," said Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts.
The age of the house caused it to become completely engulfed in a matter of minutes.When crews responded and tried to enter the house, the second floor was already starting to fall through.
"People lost their lives in this structure fire and that's tragic so there's no minimalization of that, we take it very seriously and that's why we're taking our time with it to make sure we're not missing any steps," said Chief Stuart.
The identities of the victims have not been confirmed.Friends and relatives stopped by to pay their condolences and possibly get more information, they laid out stuffed animals and flowers to remember the small children that were lost.
Ashley Altizer is shocked this happened to someone she knew.
"I have a sick feeling in the stomach knowing that people we were really close to were in there," said Altizer.
Officials said the identities of the victims will not be released until the county coroner can complete a thorough investigation and they want to make sure the families of the victims can be notified.