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Garage fire damages FD homes

Neighbor hears a pop, sees flames, wakes neighbors

Messenger photo by Bill Shea A fire that started in the garage in the foreground spread up the rear wall of the house at 519 S. 16th St. Thursday morning. The house also sustained some interior damage. The sheets of plywood were placed on the house Thursday afternoon to cover broken windows and a door. The fire also melted some siding on a house across the alley to the north.

When Scott Dow, of Fort Dodge, looked out a window of his house Thursday morning after hearing an unusual noise, he spotted flames coming from a corner of his neighbor’s garage.

“It looked like a Christmas tree,” he said late Thursday afternoon. “I watched it for about two seconds and, whoosh, the whole side went up.”

He called 911 and woke his neighbors up.

The blaze he spotted destroyed the garage and damaged the house at 519 S. 16th St. Some siding was melted on Dow’s house next door. No one was injured.

The American Red Cross was called to find temporary housing for the family of seven that lived at 519 S. 16th St.

Messenger photo by Bill Shea A two-car detached garage and the mini van inside it were destroyed in a Thursday morning fire at 519 S. 16th St. that also damaged two nearby houses. No one was injured.

The fire remains under investigation, according to Fort Dodge Fire Department reports.

The fire was reported just before 6 a.m.

Dow said he sets his alarm clock to go off at 6 a.m. so that he can get to his job at Misty Harbor, a boat building company, on time. But he said on Thursday, he woke up at 5:48 a.m., before the alarm went off. He got up and started the coffee maker. Then he heard a noise.

“I heard a pop and it shook my house a bit,” he said.

He thought one of his children fell out of bed, so he went to check on them. He found them asleep.

He said he heard another unusual noise.

“Then I heard another pop with the sound of air streaming from something,” he said.

That’s when Dow looked outside and spotted the fire. He said he called 911 and handed the phone to his daughter. Then he ran across the alley and starting pounding on his neighbor’s front door until the people inside woke up.

Emergency personnel were on the scene until about 9 a.m. Fort Dodge firefighters change shifts at 7 a.m. daily, so the firefighters reporting for duty Thursday morning went right to the scene.

The garage was gutted and a minivan inside it was destroyed. The back exterior wall of the house at 519 S. 16th St. was scorched and there was some interior damage also. Some of the siding on the south side of Dow’s house melted.

The house at 519 S. 16th St. is a rental property. It is owned by Shirley Weimer, of Fort Dodge, according to online records of the Webster County assessor’s office. Those records indicate that it was built in 1911.

Dow said he went to work “reeking” of smoke.