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Firefighters respond to garage fire in Cassatt

Posted: March 22, 2018 6:38 p.m.
Updated: March 23, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

A large group of firefighters assess damage after responding to a garage fire Tuesday afternoon on Cher Lane off of Cheraw Road in Cassatt. According to Antioch Fire Department Chief Bryan Spitzer, the blaze started after a “pile” burn, thought to have gone out, got whipped back up by high winds, spreading through a the nearby woods and around to the garage, causing two of 10 propane tanks to explode. No was injured.

Although it took a call for extra manpower, dozens of firefighters responded to a short dirt road off Cheraw Road in Cassatt to put out a fire at a large shed being used as an auto garage. Antioch Fire Chief Bryan Spitzer said he happened to be nearby when the call went out around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“There were only two or three of us when we first got here,” Spitzer said.

He said the cause of the fire at the end of Cher Lane appeared to be a “pile” burn -- either of leaves or trash -- that the garage owner had set earlier in the day. Spitzer said the owner left after believing the burn was out, but that it apparently got whipped up by high winds Tuesday afternoon and moved into the nearby woods. From there, he said, the fire worked its way around to the rear of the garage.

“There was a lot of fire blowing out of the garage, and we had the woods fire, too,” Spitzer said. “There’s welding equipment and propane tanks in there. Two of them exploded.”

He said there were a total of 10 propane tanks in the garage and that he is thankful he and other firefighters were able to keep them from exploding, too. The fire caused an as yet undetermined amount of damage to the shed, equipment and, possibly, some vehicles. By 6 p.m., the fire had blackened portions of the back yard and stumps and other vegetation were still smoking in the woods.

“That could smolder for a while,” Spitzer said.

He said he asked dispatchers to call for reinforcements as he and the two or three other firefighters continued to battle the fire.

“The thing is we’re so shorthanded,” Spitzer said regarding all-volunteer units, “that even a garage fire is difficult to handle.”

Spitzer said no one was injured, and most of the firefighters left a little after 6:30 p.m.

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