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UPDATED: Fire to two detached garages in Suamico causes $130,000 in damages

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 10:49:54-05
  • The Suamico Fire Department said Tuesday a mechanical issue likely caused a fire to two detached garages
  • Fire Chief Joe Bertler said in a news release the fire happened in the 12000 block of Velp Avenue in the Village of Suamico
  • Investigators said they believe the homeowner was working on his truck in the detached garage when a fuel leak ignited the truck
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(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

A fire quickly burned these two garages and this pickup truck Tuesday. The homeowner tells me he was working on the truck when its fuel ignited.

The homeowner, Jason Ely, did not want to go on camera, but says he was doing a tuneup on his truck Tuesday morning — but when he turned the key ...

"It ignited it," Ely said. "But by the time I got [the truck] out of there, there was nothing I could do with it."

Jason says he used one truck to pull the other out of the garage, but the fire had already spread.

"His story did line up with what was on scene and what we found," Bertler said.

Suamico Fire says it stopped the fire from reaching Jason's house.

"The water was a little issue because we're not able to pull from hydrants at this point," Bertler said, "with our water tower currently being fixed at the time, so that caused a little bit of a delay in just getting water, but other than that, it was put out in about 30 minutes."

The Fire Chief says neighbors heard loud bangs — but they were not caused by gasoline or propane.

"I believe, as a result of the investigation, that it was probably just the car tires exploding," Bertler said.

Garage fires are a common call for firefighters like Bertler.

"A lot of garage fires are a result of people working on their vehicles in their garages," he said.

Which he says are best avoided by clearing space around cars, and taking precautions.

"If you're working on a vehicle in a garage, just have a fire extinguisher available," Bertler said.

Jason says he has insurance that he hopes will help him replace his equipment.

The fire department estimates the total cost to the structure and property to be about $130,000.