Bend Fire & Rescue
Emergency Messages as of 2:48 am, Sat. Feb. 27
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News Release
Photo courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue
Photo courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue
63455 N Hwy 97 Structure Fire - 01/23/21

At 4/35 am, Bend Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to Trader Joe's, 63455 N. Hwy 97, on a possible commercial structure fire.  Store employees beginning their work day had entered the store and found light smoke throughout, with a strong odor present. They immediately evacuated the store and called 911.  First arriving fire crews found a haze of smoke in the building with no obvious source.  Upon further investigation, they were able to trace the source back to one of the commercial display freezers.  The fire had self extinguished but there was still a refrigerant leak that was causing hazardous conditions due to the flammability of the refrigerant.  Crews were able to shut all systems down, ventilate the building, and the scene was turned over to Trader Joe's staff and HVAC contractors to initiate repairs and cleanup.  The total loss is estimated at approximately $10,000 due to a large quantity of grocery products that had to be discarded.

Upon investigation, the cause of the fire was electrical wiring that arced against the copper refrigerant tubing, creating a hole and allowing the flammable refrigerant to escape.  Actual fire damage was limited to the display freezer, but smoke and odors were dispersed throughout the building.  Trader Joe's is closed today for cleanup and repairs, but they will reopen on Sunday.

Bend Fire & Rescue would like to commend the staff of Trader Joe's for their quick and correct actions in evacuating the building, moving to a safe area, and calling 911 immediately.  Businesses are encouraged to have an emergency plan, and for all employees to receive training and opportunities to practice that plan.  Good planning ahead of time can result in a much better outcome when seconds count.  Visit www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/safety-tips-emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness for more information.  

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