By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Teri Silva knew the hot tub needed to be looked at.
This wasn’t what she had in mind.
Silva was in bed fighting a cold around 11 a.m. Monday morning when she heard some booms coming from the backyard of her house on the 1700 block of Meadowlark Drive NE.
Silva, her son and her son’s friends who were in the backyard were fine and Silva’s quick action kept most of the damage confined to the backyard area.
“It sounded like it was coming from the backyard, so I ran out there and got the hoses going while I tried calling 9-1-1,” Silva said.
Though her phone wouldn’t work, the garden hose did. All of the people involved were uninjured, while Silva’s two dogs were unscathed – though she didn’t know it at the time and tried to go back inside the house, only to be stopped by an Keizer police officer. Early in the afternoon, Silva was still trying to find her cat.
“We’d been having problems with the hot tub,” Silva said. “It keeps overheating and we’ve been having flow issues. I had the door open to access the underneath. We’ve been holding off having it looked at. That makes this harder.”
Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan showed the Keizertimes the charred remains of the backyard after crews put out the fire. The fire destroyed the hot tub, the deck around it, backyard furniture, windows along the back of the home and some of the back wall. A portion of grass and various trees also got scorched, as did the back of a neighbor’s shed.
“The Keizer Fire District recommends that if your house is on fire, get away,” Cowan said. “Teri was worried about the dogs, so she went back inside but an officer grabbed her and they left.”
Cowan said the electrical portion of the hot tub arced and caught on fire, with the the flames quickly spreading underneath the plastic decking surrounding the hot tub.
“It may have been burning underneath before the fire was visible,” Cowan said.
Cowan said his crew planned to board up the back of the house and secure the residence, allowing the family to stay in the house.
There was no immediate damage estimate.
Though shaken by the incident, Silva looked on the bright side.
“It’s all be fine,” she said. “It’s in God’s hands. It could have been a lot worse. The fire could have come into the house.”