Restored Corvette Burns in SE Bend Garage

Fortunately, Smoke Alarm Sounded; Owners Had Extinguisher

POSTED: 11:28 PM PDT September 7, 2011    UPDATED: 9:23 AM PDT August 20, 2011 
BEND, Ore. -

A smoke alarm in the garage and fast use of a fire extinguisher kept a fire in a restored 1956 Corvette parked in a SE Bend home?s garage Friday night from being even worse, or burning the home as well, authorities said.

Fire crews responded just after 10 p.m. to a car fire in a garage at the home of Tom and Sue Archey at 20476 Mainline Road in the Timber Ridge subdivision, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

Crews arrived to find the fully restored 1956 Corvette on fire, he said. But the owners had heard a smoke alarm in the garage that alerted them to the fire, Derlacki said, and quickly used a home fire extinguisher while calling 911.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, Derlacki said, and the car was pulled from the garage to prevent any damage to the home.

An investigation found that an electrical fire under the hood ignited the fire, which damaged the engine and interior of the Corvette. It was fully restored in 2006 and had traveled to car shows all over the West Coast, Derlacki added.

The Archeys were at home, watching the Seattle Mariners baseball game Friday night when they heard the smoke alarm go off in the garage.

Fire alarms in garages are not required under Oregon law, but when the Archeys remodeled their house, the city of Bend asked them to put one in.

Now, they say, they are so grateful it was there to warn them before the flames destroyed their home.

"I think we both feel lucky and blessed that you know, it happened the way it happened," Tom Archey said Saturday. "The fire alarm went off, we see it, we control it, then the fire truck got here almost immediately -- great fire and service in Bend."

Losses were estimated at $25,000 to the car, valued at about $60,000.

The fire damage was limited to the Corvette, Derlacki said, with only some lingering smoke smell in the garage and home, he said. The car and home were fully insured, he added.