At 1:45 in the morning on June 13, 1980, a fire broke out on the upper floor stairway at the Hamilton Hotel on the 1000 block of SW 3rd Avenue. The Portland Fire Bureau responded and evacuated the building. Firefighters found Kim Dip Chin, a 69-year-old woman, seated in a chair in her room not breathing. CPR was administered and she was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that she had died as the result of probable smoke inhalation and asphyxiation.
Kim Chin was a permanent resident of the hotel. She was retired and had managed a different hotel. Arson investigators discovered that the fire had began on the landing of the third floor in the stairwell and accelerants were used.
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