Redmond firefighter hurt on smoky farmhouse fire

1925-era structure poses challenges; cause still undetermined

Fire burns farmhouse N. of Bend

BEND, Ore. - A stubborn, smoky fire destroyed a nearly 90-year-old farmhouse between Bend and Redmond Monday afternoon, despite a two-hour effort by firefighters from both cities to knock it down, authorities said.

Bend firefighters responded around 2:45 p.m. to the reported structure fire at 21475 Gift Road, on the boundary between the Bend and Redmond fire districts, west of Highway 97 and north of Deschutes Junction, said Battalion Chief Dave Howe.

Due to the location, Redmond crews also responded with mutual aid of an engine and water tender, he said.

They arrived to find smoke filling the two-story farmhouse, built in 1925 and currently owned by Luke Guynup, and smoke pouring from the foundation, exterior walls and under the eaves, Howe said.

"This was a fire that was deep-seated in the structure itself, and although both departments worked very hard for over two hours to control the fire, the building was a total loss," the battalion chief said in a news release.

"The combination of the fire's head start, the construction type and the wind made extinguishing this fire exceptionally difficult," Howe added.

A veteran Redmond firefighter suffered a shoulder injury around 5 p.m. when he slipped near a hole cut in the floor by firefighters and put out his arm to protect himself, Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper confirmed Tuesday morning.

A shift commander went to the fire scene and drove the injured firefighter, whose name was not released, to the St. Charles Bend ER, where he was treated and released, she added.

Twenty fire personnel were involved in the effort.

Losses were estimated at $180,000 to the structure and $45,000 to its contents.

Howe said Tuesday an investigation had been unable to determine the exact cause of the fire, which happened as residents were not home and a family dog also was fortunately elsewhere.

A quick interior search confirmed no one was inside, and found the fire burning in the crawlspace under the floor, Howe said. The nature of construction at the time made finding and putting out the fire very difficult -- in fact, conditions deteriorated quickly and officials decided to stop interior firefighting and remove crews for their safety.

Howe said late Monday the fire had proven to be "very stubborn, and we are letting the pile smolder" until Tuesday morning, when a crew was sent out again.

Whatever the age of a home or what was required when it was built, Howe said it's recommended that all homes have working smoke alarms on each level of the home, outside all sleeping areas, and in every bedroom.

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