SE Bend resident escapes burning mobile home

Awakened by smoke alrm; fire caused by woodstove ember

BEND, Ore. - A southeast Bend woman escaped her burning mobile home early Saturday – thanks to a working smoke alarm – and firefighters were able to quickly put out the blaze, which still caused about $50,000 damage.

Firefighters responded around 3:40 a.m. to the reported fire at The Pines Mobile Home Park, 61000 Brosterhous Road, and arrived to find the living room of a double-wide mobile home on fire, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

The owner, Andrea Wendling, was able to escape uninjured, Derlacki said, adding that the fire was doused quickly by the first engine arriving on scene.

An investigation found that a woodstove ember had escaped and came in contact with combustible materials nearby. Derlacki said the woman "had kept a good separation between the woodstove and combustibles, but a smoldering log fell out when the fire was stoked at 2 a.m."

Derlacki said the log fell out and landed on the hearth. The homeowner looked for any embers that might have fallen out but didn't see any. She put the log back, added another, closed the woodstove and went back to bed. "About two hours later, the couch was on fire," he said.

Damages were estimated at $30,000 to the home and $20,000 worth of contents. Fifteen firefighters responded to the scene.

"This fire is a great reminder of a working smoke alarm saving lives," Derlacki said. "The owner did not smell anything or notice any problem until the smoke alarm went off. She awoke and reacted appropriately by evacuating and calling 911 immediately."

Derlacki urged residents to make sure your home is properly equipped with smoke detectors that operate properly.

Also, he said, it's important to keep at least three feet separation between wood-fired heating appliances and combustibles such as furniture and wood piles.

If burning materials fall out of a woodstove, he said, be sure to look around for any embers. They can land in combustibles and be hard to find, but can stay hot enough to ignite fires for a long time, and can smolder for a lengthy period before a fire breaks out.

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