Detached garage burns, endangering home, apartments

The Fresno BeeMarch 21, 2014 

Four residential structures were in danger of catching fire Friday night after a detached garage with propane tanks inside caught fire in southeast Fresno.

The Fresno Fire Department received multiple calls reporting a fire right before 10 p.m. Friday night at 4571 E. White Ave., Fresno Fire battalion chief Tony Escobedo said. 

The initial fire broke out in an attached garage-type building. Inside were many propane tanks, which exploded into flames. The fire spread to a nearby tree and to the attic of a home just north of the structure. Apartment buildings to the east and west of the structure as well as power lines were threatened by the fire, but were not damaged, Escobedo said.

At least two people were displaced from the house just north of the detached building. The residents were not inside when it caught fire. Law enforcement assisted fire crews in evacuating the adjacent apartment complexes. 

Escobedo did not know how many residents were displaced from the home; he said no one was injured. 

The outside garage structure was a total loss, and the residence also sustained major damage. Escobedo estimated damages to be about $300,000.

"We had a lot of concerns because of the amount of flames from the exploding tanks in the detached facility and by the surrounding buildings at risk," Escobedo said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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