Passing motorist spots garage fire
PERRY TWP. –No injuries were reported after fire destroyed a garage and car on Liberty Street Monday night, damaging the back of the home and damaging two adjacent homes, with a passing motorist credited for notifying the residents and calling for help.
“Thankfully, he just happened to be there and saw smoke coming from the shingles,” Perry Township Fire Chief Bruce Whitcher said.
The man, who’s reportedly a retired firefighter from the area, was driving on the street and saw the smoke, then checked it out, finding the fire. According to Whitcher, the man called 911 and alerted two people inside the home about the garage being on fire.The fire department got the call before 5 p.m.
The homeowner, identified as Steven Grace, attempted to use a garden hose to put out the blaze before firefighters arrived, but the chief said the fire was too big. Perry Township responded with 15 firefighters and three trucks, attacking the garage and setting up water shields to protect the surrounding houses.
When the Salem Fire Department arrived with three firefighters and one truck, they entered the home and breeched the ceiling in the kitchen to look for hot spots. The kitchen sustained smoke and some fire daamage, with heavy smoke in the attic and no fire in the rest of the house. The detached garage was destroyed, along with the contents which included a 2006 Chevy Impala. The back of the home sustained moderate to heavy damage after the vinyl siding caught fire.
The fire also melted the siding on two adjacent houses to the east and west of the property. Both structures were checked with no hot spots found. All three properties were insured. The homeowner will be staying with family, the chief said.
A possible ember from a burn barrel located behind the garage was suspected of accidentally causing the blaze, Whitcher said.
The Damascus Fire Department also assisted with eight firefighters and three trucks.