Red Deer firefighters were called out to two fires that damaged detached garages and vehicles in the last few days.
On Dec. 31, firefighters were called to Crawford Street in Clearview Meadows at 5:03 p.m. where a vehicle caught fire near a detached garage and flames spread into the garage.
“Crews arrived to a fully involved vehicle,” said Andrew Towers fire safety codes officer with Red Deer Emergency Services.
He said flames started in the vehicle’s engine. The vehicle was plugged when the fire started and the cause of the fire was a malfunction with the pan heater.
He said occupants of the house were home at the time and were alerted by the vehicle’s key fob alarm.
Damage to the vehicle and garage were estimated at $15,000.
Crews were called to another detached garage fire, behind a duplex on Keen Crescent in Kentwood, on Jan. 2 at 6:47 p.m.
Towers said the garage was fully engulfed, and flames could be seen as far away as Fire Station 5.
“The fire was so hot that it ended up melting the siding of the duplex. The neighbouring garage also had a lot of melting of vinyl siding as well.
“It did take time to get it under control. Crews especially struggled in part of the garage where the furnace was located along with a gas line.”
He said the home owners were at home and responded quickly, but the fire developed very fast. If the fire had happened in the middle of the night, it would have had the potential to spread to the duplex.
The garage and the vehicle inside were both destroyed. Damage was estimated at $50,000.
Towers said cause of the fire could not be determined because there were many possible ignition sources.
“In the area of origin, there were close to 30 aerosol cans, and different containers with liquids. I was unable to determine if those liquids were holding flammable or combustible liquids.”
He encouraged homeowners to keep their garages as tidy as possible.
“If you do have flammables, make sure that they are minimal, they are kept in an approved container, and it’s capped to not release any vapours.”
Elsewhere in central Alberta, firefighters were called to battle a blaze at an abandoned hotel in Bowden shortly after the clock struck midnight to signal the new year. Olds RCMP received a report of a fire at the Bowden Hotel in the early hours of Jan. 1. Upon arrival, the building was completely engulfed in flames. It is not believed that anyone was inside as this hotel has been abandoned for some time.