Officials: Oily Rags Sparked NE Bend House Fire

Playhouse Project Staining Rags Left in Pile by Home, Ignited

BEND, Ore. - Oily rags from a playhouse project ignited and sparked a fire that destroyed a northeast Bend home, forcing a mother and two children to flee and sending up a tall smoke plume, investigators said Friday.

Deschutes County dispatchers got first reports around 12:10 p.m. Thursday of the fire at the home at 63046 Vogt Road, off Fred Meyer Road, owned by Kerry and Sally Carlson and resided in by Justin Carlson, said Bend fire Battalion Chief Bill Boos.

A woman and two children, one an infant, were in the house at the time. The mother told NewsChannel 21 she grabbed a hose to try to douse the fire, but when the flames got too big, everyone evacuated safely. A pet cat also was rescued by firefighters.

Boos said about a quarter of the house was ablaze when crews arrived to tackle the fire. He said the blaze sparked a small brushfire that got into a neighbor's yard and destroyed a shed before crews contained it.

Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said Friday that the residents were building a playhouse on the property and had been staining wood on Wednesday.

The rags were left in a pile less than a foot from the home, she said ? and when they ignited, the flames spread quickly up the side of the home and also into the attic. The fire also spread across the yard, into the playhouse and neighboring property.

Kettering said the home and contents were a complete loss, as were the playhouse and a neighbor?s shed.

Kettering reminded the community that oil-soaked rags should be put in a non-combustible can, like an empty, clean metal paint can. Enough water should be added to cover the rags completely, and the can sealed. They can then be disposed of at Knott Landfill or a trash transfer station, she said.

Boos said Thursday night that there was heavy smoke damage throughout the home, leading to the estimate of a total loss at $100,000 to the structure, which was insured, and $20,000 to the contents.

The American Red Cross was called in to provide assistance to the family who lost their home.

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