Crews knock down frigid garage fire Friday

Friday, December 23, 2022
Firefighters size up their attack on a garage fire that occurred in Monroe Township Friday. Though the garage is considered a total loss, no injuries were reported.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

Despite the wind chill being in the sub-double digits, crews from multiple departments tackled a garage fire in Monroe Township Friday morning.

After a box alarm was established at about 8:25 a.m., the Greencastle Fire Department was first on the scene at 1757 E. CR 325 North and found heavy smoke coming from the detached structure. It sat about five feet away from a residence.

A handline was deployed and firefighters began an interior attack through a door on the side facing the residence. A second handline was drawn after fire was found coming though the roof at a back corner of the garage.

As the Bainbridge Volunteer Fire Department came, apparatus and manpower from the Clinton Township, Floyd Township, Roachdale, Russellville and Bellmore volunteers responded on a second alarm. Putnam County EMS and PMH Ambulance, as well as the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, were also on hand.

In a relay pumping scenario, water was pushed to Bainbridge VFD’s engine, which then fed to Greencastle Fire’s engine. The impetus was to keep around 2,000 gallons available at a time.

Greencastle Fire Lt. Darrick Wiatt told the Banner Graphic that the main strategy was to protect the residence as an exposure due to the wind. The response became defensive when it came to salvage and keeping those on the fireground safe.

“Being a garage, we didn’t want to cause any further life safety issues, so we backed down and went defensive, especially whenever we start to get low on water,” Wiatt said.

Greencastle firefighter Jonny Newgent cuts an opening to access the top part of the garage. Personnel only soaked this part after heavy material was found on a drop ceiling.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

Wiatt credited Greencastle firefighter Jake Armstrong keeping water flowing with the temperature as it was. Nonetheless, several apparatus were freezing over as what he called a potential “recipe for disaster.” A salamander heater brought by Greencastle Fire’s chaplain Donnie Watson was used to thaw them out.

Wiatt provided that the manpower made the difference when it came to keeping the response going. He also commended Bainbridge Fire Chief Kevin Thorson and Roachdale Fire Chief Mike Poole on maintaining the supply.

“He (Armstrong) did a great job keeping that going, and Thorson and Mike Poole did outstanding work on the water supply end,” Wiatt said. “It’s kind of inevitable with temperatures that cold. They’re gonna freeze up.”

The fire was reported as out by 10:15 a.m. Units were released from the scene before command was terminated at 10:30 a.m.

In spite of mechanical issues delaying its response, Putnam County CERT also brought hot chocolate for those at the scene as the operation concluded.

“Trying to keep everybody moving and water moving and keeping personnel fresh was a challenge, especially for those first 15-20 minutes,” Wiatt reflected. “The sheer amount of manpower that arrived was huge to getting it out in a timely fashion.”

Though no injuries were reported, it was confirmed that at least one dog perished in the fire.

While an exact cause for the fire was undetermined, the homeowner advised that it started behind a wood-burning stove. Though total damages are not accounted for, Wiatt said the garage is considered a total loss.

According to Putnam County GIS, the property on which the garage stood is listed to Lumae Farms.

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