Remembering Rhett Larsen

Bend Fire Celebrates the Life of One of Their Own

It was a sign of respect for one of their own as Bend Fire Department vehicles traveled down Highway 97, escorting the body of fellow firefighter Rhett Larsen, who died in a motorcycle accident on Saturday.

39-year-old Larsen was returning from Portland when a bear ran out in front of his motorcycle. Larsen collided with the bear and was thrown into on coming traffic. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has more on the life and legacy of Larsen and how the community is already stepping up to help.

Threat Prompts Precautions at St. Charles

Officials Increase Security After Threat From ER Patient

There was an increase of security patrols at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend on Thursday due to a threat made about a month ago by a patient in the ER. St. Charles safety department and police interviewed the man who made the threat for March 8th. They did not believe the person posed any risks, but he does have a 60-day no trespass order.

However, with security and hospital staff on high alert, a staff member did report a suspicious package at a bus stop outside of the hospital. The box was checked out by security staff and turned out to be a thermometer for concrete that was being poured as part of an ongoing construction project.

There was also a small dumpster fire reported at the hospital on Thursday, but according to St. Charles staff, that was put out within about ten minutes. Bend Fire happened to be at the hospital for unrelated reasons, which allowed to respond within minutes.

Out of the Flames

Seven people miraculously escaped a house fire on Awbrey Butte on Wednesday morning.

The family, which included two children, two adults and three adult guests visiting for the holidays, were able to exit the home unharmed. However, the family’s two dogs perished in the fire and the home itself was destroyed.

According to Dave Howe of Bend Fire & Rescue, when crews arrived early Wednesday morning the 3,000 square foot home was already completely engulfed in flames. Howe said the family did exactly what they were supposed to do, everyone left the home as soon as the smoke alarms went off, and that kept anyone from being injured in the blaze.

Unfortunately due to the intensity of the burn, firefighters have so far been unable to pinpoint the cause of the fire. Despite extra units from Redmond and Sunriver assisting in fighting the blaze the home was declared a loss and the fire even damaged neighboring homes.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has more.


Central Oregon Strike Team Heads South to Aid in California Wildfires

A strike team from Central Oregon is heading to Southern California, where local firefighters will help in the efforts to battle wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres, and are threatening thousands of homes.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan caught up with some of the Bend firefighters before they left on a mission that will keep them from being home for the holidays.

School Recognized for Participation in Public Safety Campaign

The Bend Fire Department is on a mission to educate local students about the dangers of fire, and how to get out safely when one starts in their home. That’s why the department created the Firebusters Public Safety Campaign, and today, one local school was recognized for their participation in the effort.

Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed was there when the kids got some special visitors on campus.