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Fire at homeless camp by Bend Parkway slowed by nearby workers, Bend PD with extinguishers, doused by firefighters

TripCheck fire by Bend Parkway 6-5
ODOT TripCheck
Smoke by fire by southbound Bend Parkway was caught on ODOT TripCheck camera Wednesday afternoon.

(Update: Adding video, more info)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – An escaped fire at a homeless camp by the southbound Bend Parkway brought out firefighters Wednesday afternoon after it was spotted by employees of a nearby business and tackled by workers and police with extinguishers. It put up tall, black smoke but thanks to their work did not damage the business or require closing the road.

An area about 10-by-15 feet of brush and gras burned in the fire, reported shortly before 2 p.m. in ODOT right-of-way behind a business in the 100 block of NE Webster Avenue, Bend Fire & Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said.

While drivers and others saw a black smoke plume, nearby employees discovered the homeless camp between their business and the parkway, calling it in and using extinguishers.

The nearby workers, joined by Bend Police used extinguishers to slow the blaze before fire crews arrived, Derlacki said. Firefighters extinguished the fire and ensured it was cold to the touch before departing.

No one was at the campsite, Derlacki said, and there were no signs of who was occupying it, but he added that the fire “appears to be accidental” and there was no damage to the business.

The weather - not yet the hottest forecast in coming days - made it easier for fire crews.

“We're actually still in low fire danger, if things are still green," he said. "But now we're going to go into a warming trend over this next couple of weeks. So you'll see that fire danger ratings start to go up and we'll remind business owners to protect their properties. We're also working with ODOT, city -- anybody else that has property, to make sure that they're taking care of those properties.”

While the fire was kept from reaching nearby businesses, a fence and a burned power pole were being evaluated for damage.

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