Small, doused Bend house fire sparks reminders

As weather heats up, you can act to keep your home safe

BEND, Ore. - A small fire that a northeast Bend homeowner quickly doused Saturday night prompted a reminder from fire officials about the need to be very careful with discarded cigarettes and take other steps to prevent or deal with potential fires – especially as the weather warms up.

Firefighters were dispatched around 7:45 p.m. on a report of a possible structure fire at 3100 NE Post Ave., said fire Capt. Karl Findling. They arrived to find the owner, Chris Stafford, had found a fire on the home's exterior and had it out before crews arrived, Findling said.

An investigation determined the fire was caused by smoker's carelessness, the fire captain said.

The homeowner had used a combustible container that once held water to extinguish cigarette butts in.

The recent hot weather had evaporated the water, Findling said, and the heat of smoldering cigarettes ignited the container, which in turn ignited the exposed barbecue deck and cedar deck boards, then spread to the home's nearby, combustible siding.

Findling reminded smokers to use non-combustible containers, filled with sand and/or water, to extinguish cigarettes in. Also, he said, always smoke away from all combustible materials, including decks, dead vegetation and bark dust.

With the warm-up and summer months ahead, the fire captain also urged residents to have basic firefighting equipment available.

Check all floors of your home for working smoke alarms, Findling said, and have a properly maintained fire extinguisher on each level of your home and in your car. He also urged creating fire breaks around your home, trimming tall grass and other vegetation to reduce the spread of a fire.

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