Fire destroys SW Bend’s house; the cause turned out to be improper disposal of woodstove ash

(Update: Bend Fire says ash from woodstove started a fire; safety tips offered)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A fire that destroyed a home southwest of Bend on Wednesday morning while residents were away was found to have been caused by improper disposal of woodstove ash, officials said .

The fire was reported by neighbors shortly after 8:30 a.m. in the 19700 block of Opal Avenue, and crews arrived to find the house ablaze, as well as the back deck, Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki regretted. The family dog ​​was found safe and sound outside when the crews arrived.

The house is considered a total loss, with nearly $ 100,000 in damage to the building and its contents, Derlacki said.

No injuries were reported.

On-site fire investigators determined it was due to improper disposal of woodstove ash, Derlacki said. The ashes were placed in a paper bag next to the stove. The bag ignited and the fire spread to the adjacent furniture and carpet.

The Sunriver Fire Department also responded to the scene, while Redmond Fire & Rescue provided an engine to help cover the city until the blaze was brought under control, Derlacki said.

The displaced family declined an offer of disaster assistance from the American Red Cross and made other arrangements, officials said.

“As we head into winter and woodstove season, the Bend Fire Department wants to remind everyone to make sure they use, clean and maintain their woodstoves properly to avoid other fires like this one, ”Derlacki said.

“Ash is a great insulator and can stay hot for days after the last fire. For this reason, the best way to dispose of the bucket is to be stored away from combustibles until the ashes are cool to the touch, at which point the ashes can be thrown in a trash can or spread on the ground.

Metal buckets with lids can be purchased at most home improvement / hardware stores or woodstove retailers. The tight-fitting lid prevents ash from igniting anything and prevents carbon monoxide from being released. in the house from hot ashes, ”he added.

Derlacki also said: “Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home whether you use a wood stove or not. Working alarms more than double your family’s chances of surviving. a fire in your house. “

You can find more information about the safety of wood stoves and heaters on the Bend Fire website at: https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/safety-tips-emergency-preparedness/fall-winter-safety-tips

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