Firefighters battle garage fire : Hampered by snow, cold, explosions

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Firefighters from seven fire departments and districts converged on a structure fire 4200 block of Walker Road that destroyed a garage and two vehicles. According to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, the fire started just before 10 p.m. on March 24.

“We got the call at 10:10 p.m. and dispatch told us that the attached garage and two vehicles were fully involved,” said the district's acting Chief Bryan Jack. “The fire extended into a loft above the garage and into the house. There was a lot of smoke damage on the home's second floor.”

A lot of factors hampered firefighters that night, including explosions of unknown origins emanating from the garage.

“The cause of the explosions hasn't been determined,” Jack said. “The road was icy with snowpack and six inches of new snow. The address was on Walker Road but there was a mile and a half of narrow dirt road just to get to the driveway. … An El Paso County Department of Transportation road grader stayed with us the whole time, keeping the road open.”

Another problem was that the area doesn't have hydrants.

“We had to form a water shuttle using tenders,” Jack said. “And it was so cold, only about 5 degrees, that some of our fire hoses froze. There were also some trees near the house.”

Other firefighting agencies responding with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire included Palmer Lake, Larkspur, Black Forest, Donald Wescott, Falcon, Franktown and the area fire rehab unit that provides water, food and shelter to firefighters.

“Colorado Springs Fire Department and American Medical Response moved up to cover Tri-Lakes Monument and Wescott while we fought the fire,” Jack said. “We had the fire fully contained at about 1 a.m. Monday and it was controlled by 5 a.m. but it wasn't out until 12:30 p.m.”

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office fire investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire.

“Without a cause we don't have a fire safety message to go with this fire,” Jack added. “Messages like keep your chimneys clean, don't store flammable materials near heaters and keep portable heaters away from curtains. All good things to remember but we don't know if any of them apply to this fire.”

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