BEND, Ore. - A southeast Bend resident tried to put out a smoky house fire rather than evacuate Sunday afternoon, prompting officials to warn how dangerous that can be. The fire -- sparked by a cigar in a home with no smoke alarms -- caused an estimated $100,000 damage.
A passer-by flagged down a police officer to report the fire around 3 p.m. at a home at 500 SE Reed Market Road, and police in turn called fire crews to the scene, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.
Police brought out the home's last occupant as he was trying to put out the blaze with a garden hose, Derlacki said. Crews soon arrived and quickly extinguished the blaze.
"He stayed in the house a long time, trying to put this fire out fire out and not calling 911," Derlacki said. "It was actually passers-by who alerted local police that there was a fire in the house."
The cause of the fire was found to be an improperly disposed of Swisher sweet-style cigar that ignited a mattress in one of the bedrooms, Derlacki said.
The owner, Jason Tye, extinguished the fire on the mattress, but left it in the house – and it rekindled a few hours later, extending to the rest of the room.
Derlacki reminded everyone that if you have a fire in your home, evacuate immediately and call 911, as the smoke from a house fire is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if inhaled.
"It's extremely dangerous, what happened," Derlacki said. "He stayed in the fire. It's the smoke that people succumb to, and he was in the smoke a long time."
Losses were estimated at $75,000 to the building and $25,000 to the contents. Derlacki said the home was not insured, and the American Red Cross was called in to assist the residents. Bend police helped with road closures in the area.