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Improper disposal of outdoor cooking ashes blamed for fire that destroyed El Sancho’s Taco Shop East in NE Bend

Overnight fire destroyed El Sancho's Taco Shop in NE Bend.
Bend Fire & Rescue
Overnight fire destroyed El Sancho's Taco Shop in NE Bend.

(Update: Fire officials say fire was sparked by still-warm ashes from outdoor cooking)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A fire early Thursday morning that destroyed El Sancho’s Taco Shop East on NE Dekalb Avenue, leaving behind more than $250,000 in damage and losses, was caused by improperly disposed ashes from outdoor cooking operations, Bend Fire & Rescue said.

Cars at a nearby dealership also sustained damage from the fire’s heat, they said.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at the business in the 300 block of Dekalb Avenue, Bend Fire & Rescue Fire Inspector Melissa Steele said.

Reporting witnesses said they saw flames coming from the west side of the restaurant, on the alley, Steele said the fire began on the east side of the building, spreading up and into the attic.

Fire crews were able to put out the blaze within about a half-hour.

The estimated building loss is $180,000 and content losses are estimated at $75,000 to $85,000, Steele said.

Several cars at the adjacent car dealership, Auto Kings, also sustained damage from the radiant heat 20 feet away, the fire official said. She had no information on a loss or damage figure for the vehicles.

El Sancho’s, which serves Mexican street food, also has a Westside shop on Galveston Avenue.

It was the third straight day Bend Fire & Rescue dealt with a significant early-morning fire, after two major blazes at homes on Bend’s Westside.

The accidental cause of Thursday's fire prompted Steele to provide a safety reminder: "As summer approaches and days get hotter and drier, please pay extra attention to ashes from any type of wood burning fires, stoves, campfires, etc. The dry, hot climate can extend how long the ashes stay warm for." 

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