By Scott Hammers

The Bulletin

A cigarette discarded in a plastic trash can sparked a fire that destroyed a southeast Bend duplex Saturday, sending up a tall plume of smoke visible across much of the city.

Bend Fire Department crews were called to Riviera Drive just east of Ponderosa Park at 12:35 p.m. and found the building burning too hot to allow them to enter, with the flames spreading to nearby brush and trees.

A total of 26 firefighters helped fight the flames, including firefighters from the Sunriver and Sisters fire departments. Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry, and Cloverdale and Redmond fire departments were called in to provide fire coverage while Bend firefighters battled the fire.

Investigators determined that the discarded cigarette ignited the plastic garbage can, starting a fire that spread to a couch on the back deck and then into the attic area.

The loss was estimated at $195,000. Residents of the western unit of the duplex were able to recover some possessions after the fire was extinguished, but everything inside the eastern unit was lost. Vinyl siding on a nearby apartment building sustained heat damage.

The Red Cross is assisting the residents of the duplex with food, temporary lodging and other necessities.

— Reporter: 541-383-0387,