Lamp cord deemed likely cause of La Pine house fire

Moose Lodge hosting spaghetti feed fund-raiser Thursday night

Friends rally to help La Pine fire victims

La PINE, Ore. - Investigators said Wednesday they have found that a desk lamp's failed cord most likely caused a fire that tore through a La Pine home Sunday evening.

La Pine Rural Fire District firefighters and an insurance industry fire investigative specialist found that the desk lamp was being used as a bathroom night light, and remnants of the light show a failure in the electrical cord, said Fire Chief Mike Supkis.

The light apparently was on when Steve and Cheryl Harting and their house guest left the home on Shady Lane Sunday afternoon. Supkis said burn patterns in the home and the condition of the circuit breaker also point to the lamp cord as the fire cause.

The fire chief added, "this would also explain the rapid extension of the fire and failure of the roof trusses, as the fire had (spread) into the attic space through the bathroom vent fan."

Community members have stepped up to help the Hartings, who arrived around 5:15 p.m. Sunday at their home at 52953 Shady Lane to find the home quickly engulfed in flames.

A family member said they ran in, grabbed their dog, Sammy, and called 911.

Steve Harting is currently the governor of the La Pine Moose Lodge, which is among those working to help the couple out.

"They said the smoke was so thick in there, they couldn't see anything," Bernie Shoemaker, senior regent for LaPine's Women of The Moose, said Monday.

"It's overwhelming. They are trying to understand what to do next," Shoemaker said. "They are in shock. They have lost everything."

Firefighters arrived to find the home fully involved, and a complete loss, Supkis told NewsChannel 21 on the scene. "We were there within 10 minutes, and had it knocked down in the next 10 minutes."

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and an Oregon Department of Forestry crew also arrived within 10 minutes to find the fully involved fire destroying the home, located in the Forest View neighborhood, north of Burgess Road and west of Day Road.

Supkis said three engines, two water tenders and 14 firefighters responded, along with a half-dozen support personnel.

Firefighters were able to protect a nearby shop, vehicles and fence, he said, as well as neighboring properties, while keeping flames from extending into the forest.

Crews worked at the scene for 3 ½ hours to contain and mop-up the fire. The fire chief said there were no fire hydrants in the area, so water tenders shuttled 19,000 gallons of water to the scene.

No injuries were reported, and Supkis said Monday the cause of the fire was under investigation, "with no obvious and/or suspicious causes at this time."

The property is insured, the chief said, and neighbors are helping the Hartings with their immediate needs. 

"We decided to start a fund-raiser," Shoemaker said. "We're having a fund-raiser this Thursday night. We're having a spaghetti feed, and all proceeds will go to them until the insurance picks up."

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