A fire of unknown origin destroyed an arts and craft shed and caused major damage to a garage at 211 Austin in Pratt Wednesday night. It was one of five calls for the fire department Wednesday.
Pratt firefighters had a very busy day Dec. 27 answering five calls starting at 2 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m.
The biggest fire of the day was a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an arts and crafts shed and caused major damage to a nearby garage Wednesday night.
Firefighters were called to the Craig and Karla Bates residence at 211 Austin just before 6 p.m. and found the shed totally engulfed in flames and the west end of the garage on fire, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.
Fire was shooting out the east end of the garage, the furthest end from the shed fire, and firefighters immediately attacked that part of the fire because it was threatening the house. Fire fighters knocked the fire down in a few minutes but it took about an hour and half to get the last of the hot spots put out.
Shortly after firefighters arrived at the scene, another call came about another house on fire at a different location. One Fire truck started to the second call but they received information that it was not a fire but just the glow of Christmas lights and returned to the fire.
Kramer said if the second call had been an actual fire, they would have called for assistance from Township 12.
Shortly before the firefighters were ready to pack up their equipment, they received a call of a carbon monoxide detector going off at another address in town. A pair of firefighters went to check on the detector.
Karla Bates said she was upstairs in the house on Austin Street when she noticed a glow on her security camera and went to investigate and found the shed on fire. The fire department will review the video to help determine the cause of the fire.
Kramer said the fire marshall would not be called in to help determine the cause of the fire.
It was uncertain if the power to the shed was on or not. Bates said she thought the power was shut off and had no idea why what started the fire.
The shed was full of arts and crafts supplies and the garage was split with half for tools and half for arts and crafts. There were paint cans, a couple of small propane battles and other explosive items in the shed when it caught fire. There were a number of big plastic toys in the yard and they melted from the heat of the fire.
There were about a dozen family members, including several children, in the home at the time of the fire but no of them and none of the firefighters was injured.
The fire brought down a power line that fed the house. Pratt Light Department replaced the line and restored the power.
When the firefighters left, there was ice on the shed and garage plus ice in the street gutters from frozen runoff from the fire.
The firefighters busy day started with a fire call around 2 a.m. for a very small fire in an attic that didn't take long to put out. No one was injured in that fire and damage was minimal.
Later in the day, a squirrel came in contact with a wire on a power pole. The electricity killed the squirrel and when it feel to the ground it set fire to grass at the bottom of the pole. The fire was extremely small and took only a few moments to get completely out.
Then the shed fire happened at 211 Austin along with the false alarm that turned out to be Christmas lights followed by the carbon monoxide call.
But the fire fighters were not done yet. Around 10 p.m. a fire was discovered in a metal trash dumpster in the alley on the west side of the 500 block of South Main. The fire was producing thick smoke and Kramer said when he come out of the fire house, it looked like the smoke was coming from the Parrish Loft apartments. Fire Capt. Todd Hoffman also saw the smoke and he thought it might be coming from across the auto repair shop across the street from the Parrish but then he saw the glow of the fire between two houses in the alley beside the dumpster and got the fire trucks headed in the right direction. The fire was put out quickly but firefighters sprayed a lot of water to make sure everything was out.
There was a boarded up window in the building next to the dumpster and firefighters made sure there was nothing on fire behind the board.
Kramer said this cause of this fire was also unknown.