BEND, Ore. - It was a "close call" for a southeast Bend family of five early Tuesday morning when they awakened to the smell of smoke in their manufactured home, got out and called 911 – not awakened by their older smoke detectors, which had no battery backup and did not sound, fire investigators said.
The fire, reported about 5:30 a.m., caused about $1,000 damage to the double-wide manufactured home at The Pines Mobile Home Park, 61000 Brosterhous Rd., said Bend fire Capt. Scott Wyman.
Wyman said the ceiling vent in a bathroom had caught fire, extending into the attic area of the home, where four adults and an infant were sleeping.
Homeowner Uriel Lemus grabbed a garden hose and poured water from outside, putting out most of the flames; the first engine crew to arrive finished the work, Wyman said.
The home had older, hard-wired smoke detectors without a battery backup, Wyman said. They failed when the burning fan tripped an electrical circuit-breaker.
"This was a close call and emphasizes the importance of maintaining smoke detectors," the fire captain wrote. "All new smoke detectors come with a 10-year battery. Older smoke detectors should have the batteries changed annually. All smoke detectors should be tested monthly."
Wyman noted that new building codes require the use of a timer switch on all vent fans. "Although the fans are rated to run continuously, they can and do fail," he said, adding that existing fans can be upgraded by a qualified electrician.