REDMOND, Ore. -

Redmond fire investigators say they found the apparent point of origin, but not the exact cause of a southwest Redmond house fire that also burned a neighboring house, forced five people to flee unharmed but cost the lives of five pets.

A neighbor getting ready to leave spotted the fire, called 911 and notified the residents of 1006 SW 12th St. shortly before 3 p.m., Tuesday said Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper.

She said the first crews were on scene in four minutes and saw smoke pouring from the south side and garage of the 57-year-old three-bedroom home owned by Donald and Linda Caffro, according to Deschutes County property tax records.

Three of four people living there were home when the fire broke out, and all escaped without injury, Cooper said – but the five pets did not survive.

A residence immediately to the south also was damaged the fire. Cooper said two of its three renters were home, and they also escaped without injury.

The fire sent up tall flames and thick black smoke, prompting evacuation of some neighboring homes and closure of several roads in the area.between Juniper and Kalama avenues, west of Highway 97 and south of Highway 126.

More than a dozen firefighters were called in and the fire was knocked down fairly quickly, Cooper said, but overhaul (removal of belongings) took some time, due to a large amount of items in the home. The American Red Cross was called in to help the victims of the fire.

Fire Marshal Traci Cooper said they were able to determine the blaze originated on the home's exterior, under a covered patio area attached to the home. A damage estimate also is not yet available, she said late Wednesday.

SW Redmond house fire

Cooper said Tuesday night she did not yet have a damage estimate, but said there was extensive smoke damage throughout the heavily damaged home, as well as significant fire damage.

The second home primarily had exterior damage, with some smoke damage inside, but both homes were left uninhabitable at this point, the fire marshal said.

Bend and Crooked River Ranch fire departments provided mutual-aid assistance, to cover other calls, and Redmond police also assisted.