(Update: Adding video, more details, welder's sparks deemed cause)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A garage fire traced to welding sparks damaged a home on Bend’s north end Saturday afternoon, but the residents escaped uninjured and fire crews rescued two cats, who also are okay, a fire official said.
The fire was reported around 1:30 p.m. in the 63000 block of Hunters Circle, north of Cooley Road and east of Highway 97.
Crews arrived to find a small fire in the garage and smoke throughout the home, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said. Smoke alarms had sounded and residents safely evacuated, except for two cats brought out of the house by firefighters.
The fire was put out within about 20 minutes. Though fire damage was limited to the garage, there was smoke damage throughout the home, meaning it's not able to be occupied at this time, Kettering said. An American Red Cross disaster response team was called in to help the three adult residents, along with their two cats.
Damage was estimated at $10,000 to the house and $20,000 worth of contents.
Investigators learned a resident had been welding in the garage shortly before the fire. Kettering said there was no clearance between where the welding was done and a large amount of piled combustible materials. Sparks from welding smoldered and ignited in the materials, she said.
"Bend Fire & Rescue would like to remind the community that 'hot work' such as welding or grinding can pose a fire hazard, and appropriate precautions must be taken before beginning this type of work," Kettering said in a news release. "The work area should be free of combustible materials, and a fire extinguisher should be nearby. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn.
"After welding or grinding, maintain a fire watch in the area for at least 30 minutes," Kettering added For more home safety information, visit their website at https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/education-safety-tips