SISTERS, Ore. - (Update: Updated damage figure, info on Saturday duplex fire)
A fire early Sunday morning in the roof and ceiling by a woodstove chimney caused about $26,000 damage to a home in the Tollgate subdivision northwest of Sisters, but the two occupants escaped uninjured, officials said.
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District crews were dispatched around 3:30 a.m. to a 911 report of a chimney fire at a two-story home in the 69000 block of Lariat, said fire Captain Jeremy Ast.
One of the two renters had smelled smoke, looked up and noticed a glow, alerting the other occupant to the fire, Ast said. The home's working smoke alarms had not gone off yet, as the fire apparently began on the exterior and had not created enough smoke for the alarms to sound for another five minutes or so.
When Deschutes County 911 dispatchers were told flames were coming from the roof, Ast said it was upgraded to a full structure fire response. Black Butte Ranch Fire sent a ladder truck and Cloverdale Fire also sent an engine to the scene, helping with a quick knockdown of the blaze.
The home has a wood shake roof and the interior has tongue-and-groove wood paneling, Ast said, so crews used chain saws to cut holes and ensure the fire was fully out.
The exact cause of the fire was under investigation, but it's believed to be related to the woodstove, which was being used at the time, the fire captain said.
Ast said it could have been a flue fire from creosote, or the wood roof and ceiling materials close to the chimney heating up over a period of time from pyrolysis. He added that the renters "said the landlord had the chimney cleaned fairly recently."
The displaced residents later requested American Red Cross assistance, and Red Cross disaster responders were called in to help meet the residents' immediate basic needs, the organization said.
It was the second Sisters-area fire of the weekend.
Quick reaction by bystanders and a fast fire agency response kept a Sisters duplex wall fire from spreading to the entire unit Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The bystanders noticed the fire in the 200 block of North Cedar Street shortly after 1 p.m. and called 911. They also got the residents evacuated and put water on the fire in the wall as fire crews responded.
Firefighters arrived to find the fire smoldering in an exterior wall. They used a chainsaw to remove the siding and put out the blaze.
Officials said improperly stored ashes on a wood deck were believed to be the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $2,500 in damage.
The fire district reminded everyone to dispose of ashes in a tightly covered metal container, placed outdoors and at least 10 feet from any structure. They noted ashes can retain heat for days after they appear to be out.