Losses estimated at $10,000; Bend Fire official praises workers' actions
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A fire early Saturday morning in a display freezer at Bend’s Trader Joe’s caused about $10,000 in losses and spread smoke and odors through the business, prompting the grocery store to close for a day for cleanup, an official said.
Bend Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched around 4:30 a.m. to the store on North Highway 97, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said.
Store employees beginning their work day had arrived to find light smoke and a strong odor throughout the store, Kettering said, so they immediately evacuated and called Deschutes County 911.
The first crews to arrive found a thick haze of smoke, with no obvious source, Kettering said. They eventually were able to trace the source to a commercial display freezer.
The fire had self-extinguished, she said, but there were still hazardous conditions due to the continued leak of flammable refrigerant.
Fire crews were able to shut down all systems, ventilate the building and turn the scene over to store staff and HVAC contractors, to begin repairs and cleanup, Kettering said.
The total loss was estimated at $10,000, due to a large quantity of grocery products that had to be discarded.
An investigation determined the fire was caused by electrical wiring that arced against copper refrigerant tubing, creating a hole and allowing the flammable refrigerant to escape, the fire official said.
While fire damage was limited to the one display freezer, smoke and odors were dispersed throughout the building. Kettering said Trader Joe’s was staying closed Saturday for cleanup and repairs but plans to reopen Sunday.
"Bend Fire & Rescue would like to commend the staff of Trader Joe's for their quick and correct actions in evacuating the building, moving to a safe area, and calling 911 immediately," Kettering said in a news release.
"Businesses are encouraged to have an emergency plan, and for all employees to receive training and opportunities to practice that plan. Good planning ahead of time can result in a much better outcome when seconds count."
Visit www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/safety-tips-emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness for more information.