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Fire destroys shop south of Sunriver; exploding ammunition, propane add to firefighter challenges

(Update: Adding video, more details from fire official)

SUNRIVER, Ore (KTVZ) – A fire heavily damaged a shop south of Sunriver Tuesday afternoon. Despite exploding ammunition and propane tanks, La Pine and Sunriver fire crews kept the blaze from spreading to nearby trees or other structures, though some vehicles were damaged and windows in a nearby home broke from the heat.

Firefighters were dispatched around 12:20 p.m. to the fire in the corrugated metal structure at the corner of Stellar Drive and Indio Road, which was putting up a tall smoke column.

The homeowner heard cars honking as they drove by, alerting him to the fire and stepped out to find the shop in flames, Assistant Fire Chief Dan Daugherty said. The single resident evacuated with his cat and called 911 dispatchers.

The first crew arrived around 12:30 p.m. at the 30-by-40-foot detached shop, he said, and the fire was stopped about 15 minutes later.

La Pine sent a dozen firefighters, with two engines, two tenders, a medic and a duty officer. Sunriver Fire provided one structural engine and firefighters. La Pine and Sunriver also requested employee callbacks to bolster the force.

Firefighters used a defensive attack, fighting the blaze from outside, over concern about a "significant amount" of ammunition and propane tanks going off inside the building, Daugherty said.

The fire was knocked down within about a half-hour of the call, though crews were on scene conducting overhaul work for about two hours.

The shop is a complete loss, Daugherty said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies, Sunriver Police and the county Road Department helped with road closures during the firefighting operations.

“The taxpayers have blessed us with the appropriate tools to be able to carry on our toolboxes, which is our engines," Daugherty said. "And we certainly have the right tools to get into this metal shop, based on what we're carrying for extrication purposes.”

However, he noted that the fire district had all available resources committed to the fire. The Sunriver Fire Department also depleted their resources to provide aid.

Daugherty said the La Pine Rural Fire District continues to struggle with ensuring resources are available to respond when requested. The fire district has an additional operating levy on the May ballot.

Article Topic Follows: Fire

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Barney Lerten

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