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Two Bend deck fires traced to tossed cigarettes


A passer-by alerted authorities to a deck on fire at a northeast Bend home early Sunday — the city’s second such deck fire this weekend traced to improper disposal of cigarettes, fire officials said.

At 6:17 a.m., fire crews responded to the reported fire on the front deck of a home on Northeast Sierra Drive, off Boyd Acres Road, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

The passer-by spotted flames on the home’s front deck, and firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to the home. Derlacki said no one was home at the time of the fire.

On Friday, crews responded to a similar fire on Northwest Fifth Street, where an improperly disposed of cigarette ignited their deck. A neighbor spotted the fire and called 911.

Neither fire caused significant damage — $1,000 in the Sierra Drive fire – but only because they were spotted and crews were able to get there fast and put them out, Derlacki said.

“Even with the cooler weather predicted this week, the Bend Fire Department urges everyone to be safe when smoking,” Derlacki wrote in a news release. “Cigarettes account for an average of 40 fires a year in Bend, causing an average of $5,000 in damage PER INCIDENT.

He said, “These are actually easily prevented fires when cigarettes are disposed of correctly.” Here are some tips for safe 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.

–When cleaning ashtrays, fill them with water – then empty them in the trash can. Even when a cigarette appears to be extinguished, there is still a chance that it may be smoldering. If you empty an ashtray in a wastebasket containing paper or other combustibles without first wetting it down, the result could be a fire.

–Play it safe and soak cigarette butts before disposing them. Check under cushions for smoldering embers. A burning cigarette can smolder between the cushions of upholstered furniture and go unnoticed for as long as five hours!

–Before you leave a room where people have been smoking, carefully check between sofa and chair crevices and under cushions. Check for embers, cigarette butts or matches. Make sure they have not been smoldering and remove them at once.

–Help to protect elderly and handicapped smokers. When a person’s physical ability is impaired, there is a greater chance of clothing catching fire from a cigarette. Keep a watchful eye on elderly and handicapped persons who smoke, making sure they use deep ashtrays.

–Keep matches and cigarette lighters away from children. Matches and lighters are tools for adults only. Store them up high, where young children can’t reach them. Teach kids to give any matches or lighters they find to adults.

More information can be found at

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