NE Bend woman escapes as fire destroys home

Combustibles close to space heater found to be cause

POSTED: 7:30 AM PDT October 4, 2012    UPDATED: 3:34 PM PDT October 4, 2012 
BEND, Ore. -

Combustibles left too close to a space heater sparked a fire that destroyed a home in northeast Bend early Thursday, but a smoke alarm awakened the sleeping resident, who was able to flee unharmed, officials said.

Firefighters responded around 3:30 a.m. to the fire reported at a home at 3450 NE Purcell Blvd. (near Butler market Road), a single-story home owned by Doris Thompson, said Battalion Chief Dave Howe.

Thompson was awakened and alerted to the fire by a working smoke detector, and ran across the street to call 911 from a neighbor's home, Howe said.

"Working smoke detectors save lives, and this is a prime example," he said.

The home, valued at $225,000, was a total loss, as were $75,000 worth of contents, the fire official said.

The Red Cross was notified and is assisting the woman, Howe said.

More than a dozen firefighters were called out on the blaze, and Sunriver firefighters helped cover district calls, he said.

Investigators found that combustibles had been placed too close to a space heater, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki, adding that the working smoke alarms saved the woman’s life.

Most space heater warning labels indicate to keep combustible items at least 18 inches away from the heater, so it can work efficiently and not heat the combustibles to the point where they will ignite.

Temperatures overnight dropped into the 20s in Bend, causing the heater to activate, Derlacki said.

Derlacki called it a costly but timely reminder about checking smoke alarms, cleaning heating appliances and ensuring combustibles are cleared away from them.

Coincidentally, the fire department had on Thursday morning put out a list of cold-weather safety reminders around your home:






For more information on heating safely contact your local Fire Department.