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Likely cause found for $100K SW Bend duplex fire


(Update: Fire doused; details, video)

A fire that caused $100,000 damage to a southwest Bend duplex on Friday likely was caused by an in-wall electric heater igniting insulation and Sheetrock, officials said Saturday.

The fire was reported shortly before 1 p.m. Friday at a two-story duplex in the 20000 block of Elizabeth Lane, Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Maniscalco said.

Crews arrived to find flames extending up the back side of the structure, spreading into the eaves and attic space, Maniscalco said.

Neither tenants’ residents were home when the fire broke out, though two cats were in a second-floor bedroom and survived, though an official said they were “hunkered down” and didn’t want to come out.

Maniscalco said the most probable cause of the fire was radiant or conducted heat from an in-wall electric heater, which ignited thermal insulation and Sheetrock within the walls. The fire then burned through the exterior siding and up to the second floor, breaking the glass in the bedroom windows and spreading into the eaves and attic space.

Losses were estimated at $75,000 to the structure and $25,000 worth of contents. The duplex’s owner had insurance, but the fire official said only one tenant had renters’ insurance.

A total of 20 firefighting personnel were called out, as was the American Red Cross, which sent disaster responders to help the occupants. Pacific Power and Cascade Natural Gas crews were called out to turn off the power and gas.

Brookswood Boulevard was closed for a time, as was Badger Road, due to firefighting efforts.

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