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The remains of a deceased male were found in the building, which burned up on Jan. 2.

COURTESY PHOTO: HILLSBORO FIRE & RESCUE - Firefighters with Hillsboro Fire & Rescue battled the Weil Arcade blaze for more than eight hours on Jan. 2. Human remains were found inside by investigators earlier this week. A man's body was discovered in the wreckage of the Weil Arcade building in downtown Hillsboro earlier this week, Hillsboro authorities said Wednesday, Feb. 9.

The man's death was determined to be from smoke inhalation. His identity has not yet been released, although police said it's not believed he is associated with the Weil Arcade building or businesses.

Police said the body went undetected since the fire erupted on Jan. 2 because of ongoing safety concerns with the structure, located at 231 E. Main St.

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue investigators determined that the fire, which destroyed several downtown businesses, was intentionally started. Roel Leon, 34, was arrested Jan. 5 on suspicion of starting the fire, which started early in the morning hours of Jan. 2.

The fire started at the front of the building and quickly spread throughout, upgrading the fire to a four-alarm response that drew more than 130 personnel from throughout Washington County and the greater Portland area.

Firefighters battled the blaze for more than eight hours, keeping it contained to the building. While eight businesses were displaced as a result, other nearby businesses were impacted by the smoke and heat. It took days for firefighters to stamp out the last of the hot spots.

While the body found this week remained undiscovered for more than a month, Hillsboro police say no other bodies are expected to be found.

Hillsboro police and fire authorities are being assisted in their investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.


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