BY STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Don’t smoke in your house.
That’s the important lesson learned the hard way by a Bend man Wednesday who said his carelessness is to blame for an apartment fire.
“Well what happened was I was smoking a joint, I put it out and I left to go help my friend with his DVD player and within 10 minutes people came running over saying my apartment was on fire,” said Jeremy Brooks, the resident of the apartment.
Officially, Bend Fire and Rescue said the fire was caused by improperly disposed of smoking materials that ignited other combustible materials.
Brooks says he punched out the fire extinguisher and ran back to his burning place.
“The smoke was just so black and it was burning my eyes and I couldn’t breathe right away,” Brooks said. “I just ran back downstairs and said this isn’t happening. There’s no way.”
The fire was discovered by a neighbor.
Firefighters responded to the apartments at 9th and Butler Market, just before 1 p.m.
“When we arrived, we had flames coming out of the second floor of the apartment, said Dan Derlacki, Deputy Fire Marshal for Bend Fire and Rescue.
Derlacki said things could have been worse.
“So quick actions by everyone calling 911 and us getting here pretty quick kept this at a pretty small fire and kept the damage to a minimum,” Derlacki said.
Derlacki also said an open window and door allowed the fire to spread more quickly.
Brooks lost a T.V., PlayStation 4, bed and clothing.
He said the only thing left on was the clothes on his back and the wallet in his pocket.
“This is a great reminder that renters’ insurance is pretty inexpensive and it will help replace your personal items,” Derlacki said.
Derlacki estimates the fire caused around $50,000 damage to the building and $10,000 of damage to Brooks’ items.
No other apartments were damaged by the fire.
“The other three units are livable and they will be moving back in this afternoon,” Derlacki said.
Brooks says he will stay at his mom’s for now and knows he has a long road ahead.
He also added “Don’t smoke in your house” before handing back his microphone and walking off.