Classic car owner hurt in Dakota City fire

Garage blaze destroys $100,000 automobile collection

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen With the smoldering remains of a vintage Corvette in the foreground Humboldt firefighter Matt Ubben sprays water on a garage fire late Thursday afternoon in Dakota City. Several collectable vehicles stored in the garage were destroyed.

DAKOTA CITY — A man was treated for burns and an estimated $100,000 worth of classic cars were lost after a garage caught fire in Dakota City Thursday night, according to Jim Gronbach, Humboldt volunteer fire chief.

The fire was reported at 5:23 p.m.

Don Ukena, of Dakota City, was reportedly working on a vehicle inside the structure, located at 25 Fifth St. N.

When he attempted to start the car, it backfired, according to Gronbach.

Sparks from the vehicle caught a piece of cardboard on fire, he said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen A group of Humboldt firefighters work on putting out hotspots late Thursday afternoon at the scene of a garage fire in Dakota City. Several collectable vehicles were destroyed along with the garage.

“The wind fed it quick,” Gronbach said. “When we approached, the garage was totally engulfed,”

Gronbach said a top concern was a nearby house and storage shed.

“We got the fire knocked down in about 15 minutes,” he said.

Radiant heat melted the siding on the nearby storage shed.

Ukena, who owns Roffler Family Hair Center in Dakota City, suffered what are believed to be minor burns. He was transported by ambulance to Humboldt County Memorial Hospital.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Humboldt firefighter Matt Ubben sprays water on a garage fire late Thursday afternoon in Dakota City. Several collectable vehicles stored in the garage were destroyed.

Three vehicles, including two Chevrolet Corvettes and a 1989 Pontiac Trans Am, were inside the garage and another was on the outside of the building. Another car to the east of the garage was a junk car.

Jeff Feaster, a Humboldt volunteer firefighter, estimated the value of the cars at about $100,000, depending on condition.

The garage and its contents were a total loss.

The Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department were on scene.

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