BEND, Ore. - A Deschutes River Woods resident went out to get the paper Saturday morning, smelled smoke and found their detached shop-garage full of smoke, the start of a fire that destroyed the structure, though firefighters were able to keep it from reaching the house less than 10 feet away.
Bend firefighters responded just before 7 a.m. to the reported fire in a detached double-car garage at Pamela Hornberger's property at 60210 Cinder Butte Road, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.
The homeowner found the building full of smoke and tried to put out the fire with a garden hose while calling 911, which sent Bend and Sunriver fire units.
Arriving crews found the garage fully ablaze and flames spreading to nearby vegetation and fencing. Crews were able to stop it from reaching the home, though Derlacki said the heat of the fire cracked some windows and melted window framing.
One fortunate reason: "There was no wind, so it didn't spread," Derlacki said.
An investigation found an electrical failure sparked the fire at some point during the night, smoldering until it was noticed Saturday morning, the fire official said.
Losses were estimated at $10,000 to the building, which was insured, and $50,000 to its contents.
Derlacki said the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office assisted in a road closure.
He also reminded residents to have an electrician check out any problems with your electrical system.
"Electrical failures are a common cause of fires in homes," he said in a news release, "but many can be prevented by correcting electrical problems as they arise."
Hornberger told NewsChannel 21 that she had multiple photo albums and her old college items that perished in the flames. The homeowners also said they lost bikes, gold clubs and dozens of tools.
But they also said they are grateful their family and pets are fine -- and most of what was lost can be replaced.
Neighbor Sam Archer said he and his mother were evacuated. He said he woke up to a loud boom and saw the flames shooting through the roof.
"I know them (the homeowners) pretty well," Archer said. "The back of their car was even burned -- it wasn't even near the flames. Its whole back just melted. Part of their house is melted too -- it was pretty hot."