BEND, Ore. - A southwest Bend resident leaving for work saw flames on a neighbor’s deck and called 911, allowing firefighters to stop the blaze that they traced to an improperly disposed of cigarette.
Firefighters responded around 8:30 a.m. to the reported deck fire in the 19000 block of Laurelhurst Way, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.
The neighbor called 911 and the residents, asleep at the time, awakened to the sound of firefighters’ chain saws.
Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire and keep it from spreading from the deck to the house, Derlacki said.
The fire official said smoking materials improperly disposed of into a plastic flower box was the fire’s likely cause. A metal container was provided for the cigarette butts, he said, but part of the cigarette apparently did not make it into the container.
“The potting soil in there can be dry, ignites real easily,” Derlacki said at the scene, adding that the fire spread to the Trex decking and wooden railing.
“Bend Fire Department urges everyone to make sure their smoking materials go into a non-combustible container when done,” Derlacki wrote in a news release. “This includes the ashes from smoking, not just the filter portion.”
With the dry summer in full swing, Derlacki warned, “even the littlest ember from smoking materials can cause debris to catch fire.”
The Bend Fire Department has seen an increase in smoking-related fires this year, “and we’re not into the hottest part of the summer yet,” Derlacki added. “Please be extremely careful with all forms of smoking materials as we continue through summer.”
Derlacki said more information about smoking safety can be found at http://www.bendoregon.gov/smokingfiresafety.