BEND, Ore. - It was a scary Saturday afternoon for a northeast Bend woman and her infant when their home caught fire.
Luckily, the flames were stopped fast, and nobody was injured.
Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said the fire was reported around 2:20 p.m. on the side of the two-story home at 2926 NE Jill Avenue.
Fire Capt. Tricia Connolly said the fire began outside the home in the bark dust on the side of the house -- the cause was a smoldering cigarette butt.
"The fire actually worked through one of the basement vents to the basement of the house," Connolly said. "So when we got on location, we had some smoke in the basement of the house, with a small amount of fire in the basement."
Connolly said the initial response to the fire was a case of neighbors helping neighbors -- landscapers in the area noticed the fire and notified the homeowner, and neighbors helped douse the flames before firefighters arrived.
Fire officials said with the high wind, it could have turned out much worse, had neighbors not responded to help.
Derlacki said the fire began when the cigarette butt landed in fresh bark mulch in a corner of the house, next to a fence. The blaze spread to the fencing and siding, and caused about $1,000 damage to the building and $500 to the contents.
Here are some safety tips for proper disposal of smoking materials:
- Dispose of smoking material into a non-combustible (metal or clay) container.
- You can fill the container with sand or water to help extinguish the smoking materials but remember to ensure there is always water in the container and the sand can be seen and not obstructed by too many butts.
- Before disposing of the materials, ensure they are cool to the touch.
- Empty the cool smoking materials regularly to reduce the buildup of materials. The smoking materials themselves can become the combustibles the next cigarette butt ignites if not emptied regularly.