The story of Bend, the capital of Oregon’s Northwest region, has taken on new urgency after a massive fire killed at least nine people and left a second in critical condition.
As the region continues to recover from the deadly fire, news of the death of a young man has shaken residents to their core.
“It’s definitely a hard thing to digest,” said John Odom, who works at the Bend Community College.
“It’s very difficult to put yourself in his shoes and what it was like to be his roommate.
The loss is hard for everyone.”
The young man, who is not named in court documents, was one of eight people who died in the fire.
Two others, who have not been named, are recovering at home.
The Associated Press has not been able to reach the man’s family or his friends.
Authorities said in a statement that the fire was started in a garage where a man was sleeping.
“This is a tragic loss for our community,” Bend Mayor Ben Stilwell said in the statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected by this tragic event.
We will continue to work with our local authorities to ensure our residents are well cared for.”
Bend is in the heart of the city’s booming downtown, which has a population of nearly 40,000 people and a population density of more than 1,500.
The city is home to the state’s largest public hospital and its main transit hub.
In the days after the fire, residents rallied in front of the hospital to honor the victims.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday at the hospital.
“There are not enough words to express the pain and loss of these young men, but the people of Bend are still standing strong,” Stilfield said.
“The people of our community will not let this go.”
The Associated Public Press contributed to this report.