Snowblower backfire causes fire in attached garage

Jarrod Schoenecker

Jarrod Schoenecker photo
Montgomery Fire Department goes through individual pieces that were scorched in the fire and dousing them to make sure they are completely out.

A fire started inside of an attached garage on the 500 block of 2nd Street SW on Friday, March 10 shortly before noon.
Renter of the house, Kyle Odenthal, said he was in the garage filling his snowblower with gas when the snowblower backfired and started the gas coming out of the can on fire. Odenthal was taken by surprise and the fire scorched his hand. During the ordeal, he says he spilt some of the gas on the garage floor and that too started on fire. He grabbed the fire extinguisher and tried to put it out but it was too large for that to be effective.
According to Odenthal, he rushed out the person-door on the garage and purposefully closed the door. “Fires need oxygen. So no oxygen, no fire. I closed the door. I didn’t want it to take off real fast,” said Odenthal.
Realizing he wasn’t going to be able to extinguish the fire himself, he called 911. He said, “I felt stupid making the call but what are you going to do?”
The fire call came in at 11:56 a.m. Odenthal figures that the fire department arrived within about five minutes of the fire starting.
Firefighters had immediately pulled off three-quarters of the vehicle garage door to get at the fire initially, which lay in the snow next to the garage, and part of the soffit outside the person-door on the garage. A few personal items within the garage, tools and mechanical supplies, were damaged by the fire, smoke, and water.
The fire appeared to have been extinguished before it could do major damage to the garage and before any damage was done to the house it is attached to. Odenthal estimates that he has only a couple thousand dollars worth of damage in personal items in the garage.
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