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Utility pole electrical issue sparks fire, burns 3 vehicles at NE Bend dealership

(Update: Cause found to be electrical issue at utility pole; worker tackled with fire extinguisher; updated damage estimate)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – An electrical failure at a utility pole caused a fire Saturday evening at the Robberson Ford dealership in northeast Bend that caused nearly $70,000 damage to three vehicles, investigators said Sunday.

Bend Fire & Rescue responded around 5:40 p.m. to the initial report of a dumpster on fire at the car dealer, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said.

They arrived to find the fire instead burning three vehicles, a utility pole, pallets and adjacent landscaping, he said.

The fire was knocked down quickly, but due to the electrical hazard from arcing lines at the power pole, firefighters could not finish putting out the blaze until about a half-hour later, when Pacific Power crews were able to shut off the power.

An investigation determined the fire was caused by an electrical failure of unknown type at the utility pole, Kettering said Sunday. The fire caused $69,000 in damage to three vehicles – an SUV, pickup and a van.

Kettering also confirmed that a service department employee closing up for the day spotted the fire, informed other workers and used a fire extinguisher that didn't put out the blaze, but did slow it down.

She said the employee then "did the right thing by moving to a safe distance and waiting for fire crews to arrive."

Bend Fire & Rescue would like to remind the community to treat electricity with respect and caution, Kettering said.

If you see a fire involving utility lines or a pole, stay far away and call 911. 

Always assume that power lines are live, and don't park or stand under adjacent lines, as they may be at risk of falling.  For more tips on electrical safety, visit the experts at

KTVZ news sources



    1. No. Only one RV. The fire started in the RV parked at Kathy’s house and spread to a shed. Luckily it was at the back end of her property and her house and rental were not involved. It was still a bit unnerving for all of us out here who’s property was close to her’s. The BFD had their A game on that day. It was out almost as quickly as it started. Someone there was home to call it in.

  1. I spotted the smoke from the fire as it started as I was leaving the Albertson’s parking lot.

    At that time, a stack of pallets and a power pole were on fire, and the cars were starting to really heat up.

    Before any first responders arrived, an employee of Robberson Ford, of Mexican descent, came from the Robberson oil change center with a fire extiguisher and knocked down a lot of the flame and reduced the intensity. He kept the fire from reaching the 3 transformers on the power pole, but could not get the pallet fire out or completely extinguish the power pole fire before the extinguisher ran dry.

    His actions saved Roberson Ford many thousands of dollars, a bought time for the fire department to arrive an put it out before the fire spread.

    This guy put himself at risk, and he should be recognized as an outstanding citizen doing what needed to be done without hesitation.

  2. See that pilmo was thinking that also, hopefully Barney doesn’t have a no speak order on him right now thats tighter than me trying to fit into a pair of size 40 pants

    1. Dumpster fire = trump whitehouse.
      False dumpster fire = false flag antifa psyche-out psy-op.
      There are no fascists in Bend, therefore no anti fascists in Bend.
      Since there are 4 stories in the headliners with pictures of fire, but only 3 headlines mention fire. Therefore only 3 of them can be true.

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