Skip to Content

Fire heavily damages SE Bend home; 3 residents escape unhurt

Bend house fire Grand Teton Drive BFR 913

(Update: Unusual cause found - paper towel roll dried in microwave)

Heard 'popping' noises from garage, went to investigate

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A fire late Sunday night heavily damaged a southeast Bend home, but all three occupants were able to escape uninjured, fire officials said.

Bend Fire & Rescue responded just after 11 p.m. to the reported structure fire in the 20000 block of Grand Teton Drive, Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said.

Crews arrived to find the home’s garage fully ablaze, he said. They quickly knocked down the fire, bringing it under control before it could spread to the rest of the house. But the garage and attic spaces sustained extensive damage.

Derlacki said the home’s residents heard “popping” sounds from the garage, went to investigate and found the fire. He said the home’s smoke alarms did work, but the residents already were evacuating by the time they sounded.

Unfortunately, Derlacki said, the home was not insured at the time of the fire. An American Red Cross disaster team was called in to assist the occupants.

Losses are estimated at $100,000 to the structure and $25,000 worth of contents.

Derlacki later said the fire's cause was determined to be a roll of wet paper towels that were heated up in a microwave to dry. They turned brown, so residents decided to discard the roll into the garage, where they stayed hot and eventually ignited, spreading to nearby combustibles.

"This is not a common cause, but can happen in the right conditions," Derlacki wrote.

"Using paper towels as food coverings while reheating in the microwave is not the issue here -- it's the paper rolls that can cause the problem," he explained. "When the paper is tightly rolled up on a tube, it can retain heat and allow for ignition, in the right conditions. Please be safe drying materials in microwaves, ovens and dryers." 

Derlacki also reminded homeowners and renters/tenants to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your home, in the event of a disaster.

“Check with your agent regularly to ensure coverage is up to date and enough to cover your home and belongings,” he said.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content