ROCHESTER, Minn. – Flames from an accidental ignition destroyed a three-stall garage workshop Wednesday afternoon.
A 911 call around 3:36 pm reported a fire at 401 40th Street SW in Rochester. However, firefighters responding from the station on 28th Street SE saw a huge amount of smoke pouring over Highway 52 and realized that address must have been wrong. After calling to confirm, fire trucks made it to the actual site of the fire at 401 33rd Street SW without any delay.
The 1 ½ story garage workshop was entirely ablaze with the east half of the roof beginning to cave in as firefighters arrived. It took about an hour for the flames to be extinguished but the smoke was initially so dense that it affected traffic on Highway 52, just north of the Highway 63 overpass.
The cause of the fire appears to be the use of a power tool too close to the source of some gasoline vapors. Rochester Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau says gasoline vapors expand to fill a space and can create a large flash fire if they are ignited. In this case, liquid gasoline in the shop also caused the flames to quickly spread to other combustible materials.
Rochester Fire Department says the owner of the garage workshop was working on his car when the fire began and suffered minor burn injuries. He was not taken to the hospital.
The shop is considered a total loss with damages exceeding $50,000.
All photos courtesy of the Rochester Fire Department.