Firefighters fight garage fire and manage gas main break

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 29, 2016


Firefighters fought a garage fire and managed a gas leak in back-to-back incidents last week.

According to reports, firefighters were called to a detached garage fire on Rowland, in the Big Beaver and Dequindre area, just after 10 a.m. June 22.

Firefighters could see a tall column of black smoke from several miles away, and police in the area could see flames, Troy Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Riesterer said in a prepared statement.

The flames were showing from the one-story garage and were impinging on the home and a neighbor’s garage, Riesterer said.

The owner of the garage that was on fire safely evacuated from the home before firefighters arrived. Firefighters doused the flames on the outside of the garage and searched the home to ensure no one else was in the home.

Smoke and flames had extended to the home, and firefighters extinguished the fire, cooled the exterior, confirmed that the fire had not spread to the home or attic, and ventilated the home, according to reports.

Siding on the garage next door was damaged, and fencing around the yard had also burned, fire officials said.

Fire officials said the blaze started in the garage, and they continued to investigate the cause of the fire at press time.

Residents were able to occupy the home, but the garage and the vehicle inside are a total loss, reports stated. The fire impacted electrical, cable and phone lines on the east side of the garage, and the utility companies were notified.

Final loss estimates were not available at press time. Firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.

In a separate incident, Wattles Road was closed to traffic between Rochester and John R roads after construction crews preparing westbound Wattles Road, near Keats Drive, west of Rochester Road, for resurfacing struck and severed a 2-inch gas line, releasing natural gas under pressure just before 10 a.m. June 23, according to reports.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and were told that a 6-inch main had also been struck. Firefighters began to check homes south of the site for migration of the natural gas, due to winds blowing out of the northeast, Riesterer said in a prepared statement.

Consumers Energy personnel arrived on the scene and began working to stem the flow of gas from the leak, Riesterer said.

According to reports, outdoor gas readings indicated a slight increase of natural gas two blocks south of the incident. Residents in several homes that were found to have slightly elevated natural gas levels in the basements were asked to evacuate until Consumers Energy could stop the gas flow.

Riesterer said that because the odors were detected outdoors, the gas was allowed to dissipate, since it is lighter than air.

By 4 p.m. Wattles Road was open to traffic and residents were allowed to return to their homes, according to reports.