Box on stovetop sparks NW Bend apartment fire

But neighbors heard alarm called 911

BEND, Ore. - New tenants moving into a northwest Bend apartment on Wednesday put a box on the stovetop -- and a burner control knob was accidentally turned on, sparking a kitchen fire that caused $20,000 damage, fire officials said.

Bend Fire crews responded around 5:10 p.m. to a report from neighbors of smoke alarms sounding in an unoccupied second-floor apartment in the 1000 block of Northwest Portland Avenue, with smoke coming from the windows, Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said.

Crews were able to keep the fire isolated to the kitchen, with minor smoke damage throughout the rest of the apartment, Derlacki said.

Losses to the structure were estimated at $20,000, but only $500 worth of contents, as the new residents had few belongings moved in at the time. A total of 13 fire personnel were called to the scene, while Bend Police provided traffic control.

"This is a great example of working smoke alarms helping save property, even if you're not home," Derlacki said in a news release. "With the response by the neighbors calling 911 so quickly, the fire was kept small and all three of the other apartments in the building can be occupied tonight."

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