ESCANABA - The night time sky was lit up with an orange glow and billowing smoke as residents came out to watch firefighters battle a blaze that destroyed several garages and vehicles at an apartment complex in Escanaba Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.
Fire officials returned to the scene of the fire this morning to investigate the cause of a blaze that destroyed multi-garage complexes in the alley behind Pascoe Apartments. The charred frames of 15 vehicles rested at the sight this morning.
Escanaba Public Safety firefighters were dispatched at around 11 p.m. to the 300 block of South 8th Street for a garage fire. Upon arrival, one building was engulfed in flames and smoke. Tenants in the nearby apartments had been evacuated.
Above, fire destroys a garage and its contents, including a vehicle, at an apartment complex on the 300 block of South 8th Street Tuesday night. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
Firefighters fought the fire while explosions occurred in the burning structure. Shortly after suppression efforts began, a large explosion forced firefighters to distance themselves from the building. Overhead electric lines were also on fire and threatening danger as they burned and fell down.
In an attempt to prevent the blaze from spreading to a neighboring garage complex to the south, firefighters sprayed water inside and outside the structure which was eventually destroyed by fire. The blaze also spread to garage buildings located north of the original fire, totaling these structures and their contents.
The brick apartment complex suffered damage including siding and plastic trim on windows which melted from the heat. Some garages on the opposite side of the alley, across from the original blaze, were also damaged by the fire, said officials.
Police officials were dispatched to the scene of a fire on the 300 block of South 8th Street at around 11 p.m. Approximately 15 vehicles were destroyed in the blaze. Firefighters fought the fire while explosions occurred in the burning structure.
Volunteers from the Red Cross were at the scene to aid firefighters and victims. Electric crews were also on hand and worked to restore power to neighboring homes after firefighters left the scene at around 2 a.m.
Escanaba Public Safety was assisted at the fire by Ford River Township Fire and Rescue, Delta County Sheriff Department, and Michigan State Police. Rampart Ambulance was on stand by.
Crews from Charter Communications were at the scene early today, removing cable lines from the area.
Apartment owner, David Pascoe, was on his property looking at the damage this morning. He said 15 garages were destroyed in the blaze including tenant garages and a maintenance garage. In addition to cars, other contents destroyed in the fire also included motorcycles, snow blowers, and personal items.
Pascoe said the property is the site of St. Anne's Church which was burnt by fire years ago.