(Update: Added video, more details, welder sparks believed to be the cause)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A garage fire related to welding sparks damaged a home in the north end of Bend on Saturday afternoon, but residents escaped unscathed and firefighters rescued two cats, who go as well, said a fire official.
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 house, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said. Smoke detectors had sounded and residents were safely evacuated except for two cats taken out of the house by firefighters.
The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes. Although fire damage was limited to the garage, there was smoke damage throughout the house, meaning it cannot 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 to contents.
Investigators learned that a resident had been welding in the garage shortly before the fire. Kettering said there was no space between where the welding was done and a large amount of combustible material piled up. Welding sparks 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 present a fire hazard, and that proper precautions should be taken before beginning this type of work,” a Kettering said in a press 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 information on home security, visit their website at https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/education-safety-tips