BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a 47-year-old Bend transient in connection with Thursday's early morning fire that caused $265,000 in damage to an office building on Shevlin Hixon Drive. Investigators say Eric Noell broke into the building and started the fire from the inside.
Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND this has been a week. "It is pretty unusual to have this many fires. Basically it was four fires in a little over three days. In a hot summer, we may have that many brush fires, but structure fires are a different story. But, we have a history of having long times in between structure fires, and therefore, the probability of having multiple ones – even if they’re unrelated, and these four have been completely unrelated – the probability is there."
Battalion Chief Howe says the high number of fires can be tough on firefighters. "It can be pretty taxing, but these guys are in pretty good shape. They work 48 hours in a row, they do get to sleep unless they get woken up by a call, and then they’re off for four days. The last two days, they’ve had three fires and that was one shift. So, those guys, they deserve to go home and get some rest."
All four of this week's structure fires were preventable, and Howe says, "People need to just not be complacent when it comes to fire and understand that, when it’s hot and dry outside, it also means that the flammable and combustible materials that we live in – in other words, houses – are also a source of fuel and they are, perhaps a little more susceptible to burning, because of the hot and dry conditions."