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Reduced to rubble

Probe of fire continues

November 29, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - staff writer ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Investigation continues into a fire that destroyed several garages at an apartment complex in Escanaba Tuesday night. Police say they don't expect to determine the cause of the blaze due to the intense fire damage.

Police officials returned to the scene Wednesday morning where charred vehicles and garage doors lined much of the alley on the 300 block of South 8th Street. The fire had consumed the structures except for studs and a roof that covered two of the burnt vehicles.

No one was injured because of the fire but 15 garages and 15 vehicles at Pascoe Apartments were destroyed in the blaze that lit up the night sky in the residential neighborhood Tuesday.

Article Photos

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Fire damage to 15 garages at an Escanaba apartment complex was revealed when the sun rose Wednesday morning. Above, downed electric wires and burnt rubble are the aftermath of the blaze reported at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The damage total is expected to be high because of the structures and number of newer-model vehicles destroyed, commented Escanaba Public Safety Lt. Rob LaMarche this morning. He could not say if homeowner or auto insurance would cover the lost vehicles. Determining a cause of the fire will be difficult because of the level of fire damage on property, he added.

Officer Tabitha Marchese was at the scene Wednesday morning to begin the process of determining specific property lost in the fire, said LaMarche.

According to David Pascoe, the property owner, the buildings destroyed in the blaze included tenant garages as well as a maintenance garage. Besides vehicles, there were motorcycles, snow blowers, and other personal property lost in the fire, he said.

The brick apartment complex did sustain some minor damage when the heat of the flames melted siding above and below windows. Residential garages, across the alley from the fire's origin, were also damaged in the fire, said police.

Escanaba Public Safety officers and Ford River volunteer firefighters battled the blaze for three hours after several 9-1-1 calls were received at Central Dispatch beginning around 11 p.m.

Public Safety used its ladder truck to finally get a handle on the flames which spread north and south of the garage stall where the fire started.

During suppression efforts, several explosions occurred including one which impacted two firefighters while hosing down the original fire. No one was injured. Firefighters continued battling the blaze as onlookers gathered in the streets which were flowing with water. Fire crews remained at the scene until 2 a.m.

Tenants had been evacuated from the apartment complex and were allowed to go back into their homes after the fire was extinguished, said police.

Power was out at the apartments and neighboring homes because of burned and downed electric lines. Electric personnel arrived at the scene after the fire was reported and had power restored in the area by 3:30 a.m., said a city electric department employee.

Other agencies assisting at the scene included Delta County Sheriff Department, Michigan State Police, Rampart Ambulance, and the Red Cross.



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