Fire rips through NW Redmond garage

Family not home; pets safe; firewall does job

POSTED: 10:28 PM PST November 30, 2012    UPDATED: 10:38 PM PST November 30, 2012 
REDMOND, Ore. -

A home in northwest Redmond was nearly swallowed up by flames Friday evening, but a firewall kept the blaze from spreading from the garage into the rest of the home.

Just after 5:30 p.m. firefighters were called to a home at 1324 NW Canyon Drive, off Larch Avenue, to what was reported to be a home engulfed in flames. When they arrived, only the garage was engulfed, but the flames were burning through the garage roof.

"My dad called me to tell me that the house was on fire and he couldn't get a hold of my mom," said Allyson Wattenburger, daughter of the homeowner. "I was around the corner, so I was the first one here."

She says her heart stopped when she walked around the corner and saw the flames.

"I could hear in my dad's voice -- he was very upset, worried and not knowing what's going on, seeing all the lights and sirens and firemen and the house on fire -- it was just breathtaking," said Wattenburger.

Wattenburger says no one was home at the time of the fire, but three dogs were inside. Two of them were able to make it out on their own, and the third was rescued by firefighters.     

Thanks to that firewall, crews  were able to keep the fire contained to the garage of the home. There was no breach of the wall, designed to hold back the flames.

"It's done its job -- we were able to contain it to the garage," said Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper. "Some smoke damage just occurred to the home at this point."

As firefighters work to determine a cause and the clean up begins, the family says they are thankful no one was hurt and their pets made it out alive.

"It will be real heartbreaking, and I'm sure a long process going through and getting everything set up to be a home again," said Wattenburger.

Cooper estimated the damages at $50,000 to the structure and $80,000 to its contents.

The Red Cross was activated to help the family.

Bend and Crooked River Ranch fire departments provided mutual aid help, to cover the Redmond district for any more calls, Cooper said. Redmond police also assisted at the scene.