'I'm definitely going to be more cautious in the future on where I choose to fly'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Cameron Austin-Connolly was flying his drone in a field off Marcola Road on Tuesday, something he said he's done countless other times
"I'm flying in the goggles so I can't see what's right around me," Austin-Connolly said. "I can only see from the view of the drone."
Austin-Connolly said that he heard dogs approaching him, unable to see them, he flew the drone around to get a better view of the situation.
"I could see the guy had a couple of dogs and they came running up towards me," Austin-Connolly said. "I think they were just trying to be friendly but one jumped on me and knocked the controller out of my hands and at that point I lost control and the drone crashed in the field. "
After, he went looking for his $300 drone in the field.
"I saw smoke and then quickly saw flames afterwards," he said.
Eugene Springfield Fire got the call from Austin-Connolly at 5:25 p.m. The first engine arrived at the field near 28th Street and Marcola Road within 5 minutes. Firefighters were able to put out the small fire and cleared the scene in less than an hour.
Investigators don't know the exact cause but suspect some aspect of the drone - a motor, a rotor or perhaps the battery - ignited the grass.
Austin-Connolly's GoPro was the only part of the drone that survived the crash.
"The broken arm on impact most of the plastic bits are pretty melted."
The field is on private property, but police say the owners have been lenient with letting poeple use the space for recreation.
"It's kind of a big open spot that's not marked for anything, but at the same time there's leash laws for a reason," said Brian Austin with Springfield Animal Control.
"It should be on a leash no longer than 8 ft. in length and needs to be controlled by somebody who can control is physically," Austin said.
He admits that police use discretion with enforcing the leash law, but will intervene if the dog is causing problems.
"We do not acknowledge voice command as an actual way to control your animal," Austin said.
Austin-Connolly, however, does not place blame solely on the owner of the dogs.
"I'm definitely going to be more cautious in the future on where I choose to fly and I'm going to look into a fire extinguisher I can bring with me," he said.