10th Ave blaze destroys garage, damages residence next doorDozens of people lined Villard Street in Dickinson to watch flames devour a nearby garage and damage other property Saturday afternoon. Authorities hurried to get onlookers out from under power lines as they began sparking.
Dozens of people lined Villard Street in Dickinson to watch flames devour a nearby garage and damage other property Saturday afternoon. Authorities hurried to get onlookers out from under power lines as they began sparking.
“There were live wires that were down and they had been burned through by the fire,” said Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak.
The power to the lines was cut and Sivak said residents in the area likely experienced an interruption in power.
Nobody was injured as a result of the incident.
Pam Williams and Gary Vatchelor are residents of the home on South 10th Avenue West where the garage caught fire. They didn’t realize it was burning until somebody knocked on the door, they said.
“Some man came and knocked on the door and said ‘your garage is on fire,’” Vatchelor said. “We were watching a movie and eating pizza.”
Mike Parton, who lives down the street, saw the flames and alerted them.
“I hurried up and ran to the front of the house, pounded on their door real hard, stirred them up and got them outside,” Parton said.
Some of the people who evacuated the home didn’t react as he would have expected, he said.
“To me, it was a very bizarre, very discomforting situation to kind of stumble upon,” Parton said. “Something is seriously wrong.”
He said two of men were acting “way too calm.”
“They didn’t even get off of the porch. They didn’t even peek around the corner,” Parton said. “They just acted oblivious.”
Blake Oberman, who lives nearby, and other witnesses said neighbors and authorities alerted nearby residents and helped them out of their homes.
Ryan Zeller lives next door to Williams and Vatchelor and watched helplessly as the fire spread to his garage.
“I was up in the bedroom. I heard one of my dogs bark and I pulled the blinds back and I had to do a double take,” Zeller said. “I just started running. I went back and got my dogs in the house and grabbed a garden hose and by that time, the police department was here and it was burning big time and they told me I had to leave the property.”
He said his heart was pounding as he reacted to the situation.
Zeller’s garage had only recently been constructed.
“As a matter of fact on Monday we were going to start putting the siding on,” he said.
His pickup and other property were being stored in the garage, he said.
“I just hand built a canoe for my son,” Zeller said. “That’s sitting in there as well. I just finished it.”
The fire caused extensive damage to Zeller’s garage, Sivak said.
Williams’ garage, which was completely destroyed, was in very poor condition, he added.
“The shingles were falling off, the overhead doors were shot, it hadn’t been painted in probably 30 years,” Zeller said.
Emotions ran high between he and Williams as firefighters extinguished the flames.
“I can’t even put it in words,” Zeller said. “I’m so beside myself right now.”
Radiant heat from the blaze damaged surrounding property, including a third garage, a mobile home and a vinyl fence, Sivak said.
Firefighters left the scene just after 3 p.m. — over two hours after the fire started, Sivak said. Twenty firefighters and four trucks responded, he added.
Williams suspects foul play.
“Somebody set my garage on fire, it didn’t just go up in flames all by itself,” she said.
However, she doesn’t know who would have allegedly done so.
“Our cause at this point in time is undetermined and it’s under investigation,” Sivak said. “We have contacted the State Fire Marshal’s Office to have a deputy fire marshal assist us with the investigation because of the extent of the damage.”