The North Bend Eagle


Fire damages Morse Bluff home

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 1/1/14

If bad things happen in threes, the North Bend-Morse Bluff area should be safe from house fires for a while.

The Morse Bluff home of Jim and Dee Allender became the third local victim of a house fire in the past month. Unlike the the previous two fires, the Allenders were fortunate enough to be back in their house just two days later.

On Saturday, Dec. 21, Dee Allender was in Fremont and her husband Jim, 79, was watching television at home. A passerby knocked on his door to tell him his house was on fire. The Allenders live along Highway 79, on the east side of the Morse Bluff hill. Jim called the fire department and started throwing buckets of water on the fire.

The Morse Bluff Fire Department received the call at 11:50 a.m. and responded. North Bend and Cedar Bluffs fire departments were called because of the shortage of manpower due to the holiday.

Fire Captain Paul Anderson said they found flames on the roof when they arrived and were able to extinguish the flames before they spread to the house. The fire marshall said the fire began by the chimney for the wood-burning stove. He estimated there was between $5,000 to $10,000 worth of damage done to the structure.

Dee Allender, 72, said they spent two nights with their son, Talbert, in Morse Bluff before returning home. She said the damage was mostly to the roof and some siding.

Jim Allender’s brother, Bill Allender of Fremont, is a carpenter, and he and his friends came out and fixed the roof during this past weekend’s 50 to 60 degree weather.

“I’m glad we had Friday and Saturday,” Dee said. “They got it all built in. We’ll have to wait till spring to put shingles on.”

The rest of the house suffered little harm, with just some smoke damage on the upper floor. The main floor had neither water nor smoke damage. The Allenders do not have insurance.

The house, built around 1870, uses a wood-burning stove as its only source of heat. This is the first major fire they have had to deal with. The Allenders clean the chimney every year and had just put a new cap on it this past summer. For now they are using infrared heaters.

Dee said neighbors, family and friends have been over to help. She is still washing everything to get the smoke smell out.

<<Back to the front page