'You couldn't breathe... Your eyes were burning': Residents escape early morning fire

Portland Fire is battling a fire at an apartment building at NE 57th and Glisan Street. (SBG photo)

Investigators are working to figure out what sparked a huge building fire that left 14 people without a home and two businesses inoperable.

The smoke, heat and flames from the building at NE 57th Avenue and NE Glisan were so intense, a man was clinging to his second story window before video footage shows it collapsed, and he fell to the ground.

"You couldn't breath. You couldn't see. Your eyes were burning," said Jordan Morehead, a resident in the building.

The fire moved quickly inside the structure.

"Woke up, sounded like a bang, maybe some sort of firework or something, came out and just flames billowing out of the under apartment," said Morehead who lives on the bottom floor. He grabbed his cell phone and ran outside with his girlfriend, dressed in only his underwear and wrapped in a sheet.

Neighbors all heard the same thing.

"A big bang, [the] power went out," Marvin Walker recalled. "Saw flames from the bottom of the wall, went and got my extinguisher to try and put it out, but it was too late by then."

Marvin Walker banged on his neighbors' doors, telling them to get out.

"It all happened so fast. You didn't really have a chance to figure out what was going on until you realize, 'Holy Crap, that entire apartment is engulfed in flames,'" said Morehead.

Firefighters rescued two people from their apartments. Both were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, along with the man who fell from his window. Firefighters say they have minor injuries.

Crews worked to vent the smoke and get water on the flames, which moved quickly and were trapped in the roof of the building.

A picture snapped by a neighbor shortly after he saw the fire shows flames shooting up the length of the side wall, just behind Big's Chicken and Rooks Barbershop. Both of those businesses line the front part of the building.

A Portland Fire and Rescue spokesperson said it was too early to comment on the origin of the fire, or what may have sparked it.

More than a dozen live in the building.

"Yeah, we're just doing our best, trying to figure out what we're going to do now because gotta find somewhere to stay, gotta find maybe some new clothes, everything, you know, just a frickin travesty man," Morehead says.

The Red Cross is providing temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits and other items to those people impacted by the fire.

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