WEST FARGO - A garage fire here Friday evening, May 26, damaged a dozen cars and a score of Eagle Run Apartment residents watched as crews used chainsaws to rip through three stalls in order to contain the flames.
A call for a car fire in a garage at 3440 5th St. W. came in at 8:36 p.m. that had “extended past the first garage and into the second and third garages,” said West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller. The entire building has about 12 garage units.
“This is one of the trickier fires because it’s compartmentalized side to side, but once the fire breaks through the wall you end up having just a row of car fires in the building. With the building on fire, too, it's pretty complicated,” Fuller said. “All told, there’s going to end up being at least 12 cars that have some sort of damage.”
Lindsay Haller, 27, owner of the unit that caught fire, said she came home about 45 minutes before neighbor Bill Snyder told her there was a fire.
“I have no idea how it happened,” Haller said. She added that she typically puts out her cigarettes outside the garage when she gets home, “but I don’t know” about this time.
Snyder said when he was walking outside, he “saw white smoke and then I walked around the corner, it was black. That’s when I knew it was something bad.”
“Flames were shooting out of the top. It was unreal,” he added. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
In the unit were many of Haller’s personal belongings and those of her boyfriend, Josh O’Brien, 32. Stored old photos were also inside. Haller said her vehicle, a 2015 Dodge Dart, was fully insured and she assumed it was a total loss.
West Fargo called on mutual aid from Fargo and F-M Ambulance. Seven trucks and about 28 firefighters were on the scene, Fuller said.
Two accelerants were inside the garage unit, a car and a diesel fuel tank, but Fuller is unsure how the fire originated. The incident remains under investigation.