by Caitlin Huston
A structure fire Thursday afternoon destroyed a backyard garage and damaged the siding of surrounding garages on Bates Street.
Firefighters from the Logansport Fire Department could see smoke as they approached 718 Bates St. at 12:47 p.m. The cause of the fire remains unknown and witnesses said that the garage behind the residence was gutted in about 10 minutes.
No one was injured in the blaze, said Steve Williams, assistant chief at the Logansport Fire Department.
When the firefighters arrived at the residence at 12:50 p.m., Williams said the garage roof had caved in and all of the siding had been torn off.
“The garage behind the residence was fully engulfed,” Williams said.
Because of the extensive damage to the garage, Williams said the firefighters first concentrated on controlling fires at the garage to the east and across the alley at 709 Washington.
The seven firefighters then contained the fire and spent about an hour at the location, Williams said.
Fire Investigator Jason Miller said the cause of the fire is still unknown and it was not clear yet whether the fire was intentional or accidental.
Neighbor Chad McDonald was one of the first to call 9-1-1. While sitting on his porch he said he heard a “boom, boom, boom,” and turned to see flames rising above the roof next door.
“There were big, big flames,” McDonald said.
McDonald next tried to extinguish the flames racing up the side and roof of his own garage.
Homeowner Candise Baker said she and her four children had been gone from the house for about 10 minutes when they returned and saw the fire trucks and big smoke clouds filling the air.
“I don’t know what happened,” Baker said. “I honestly don’t have a clue.”
When she learned the garage and not the house had caught fire, Baker said she was worried about their dog outside. Baker later learned that the dog had been rescued by a neighbor and taken to a veterinarian.
The garage behind the house was filled with valuables owned by Baker and her boyfriend, Brett Lemons, she said. The garage held sentimental objects like priceless quilts and old school papers from her children as well as objects like a new boat and a television, Baker said.
“It’s overwhelming,” Baker said with tears in her eyes. “There was so much stuff out there.”
As Baker and the four children pointed to melted toys and burned objects in the yard, Lemons looked on with shock at the ruin.
“That’s just crazy that there was a garage there this morning,” Lemons said.
Williams estimated that the blaze reached a temperature of at least 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit because it was able to melt an aluminum boat in the garage.
The heat from the fire also melted down conductors near the house, cutting power to 13 houses for a short period of time, said Bob Dunderman, spokesman for Logansport Municipal Utilities. Six of the houses in the area remained without power for about two hours, Dunderman said.
The fire remains under investigation.
• Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.