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Small Bend market fire points to other rooftop snow danger


A small fire on the roof of the Newport Avenue Market in northwest Bend Thursday morning was quickly put out by shutting off a natural gas valve, and officials said it points to another potential danger posed by the region’s recent heavy snow loads.

Firefighters were called shortly before 7 a.m. to the grocery store at 1121 Northwest Newport Avenue on a report of a possible structure fire, said Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe.

The first arriving crew found a small fire in a heating unit on the roof, caused by displacement of a natural gas line, which caused a leak and ignition.

Since the fire was gas fed, it went out when the shut the gas valve, Howe said, adding that “damage was minor, if any.”

Crews found the market’s flat roof was still covered with deep snow, which absorbed Wednesday’s rainfall, the battalion chief said.

Howe said market manages were notified and will work to remove the snow. He noted that an inspection of the roof components found no structural effects of the heavy snow.

“This incident highlights another hazard of accumulating snow and ice,” Howe wrote in a news release. “Snow piled on or accumulating next to or on top of natural gas lines or meters can exert enough force to displace, bend or otherwise damage gas lines.”

As always, if you smell natural gas, call 911 immediately, Howe said.

Bend police assisted with traffic control at the scene.

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