LAKE CLEAR - A garage here was destroyed by a fast-moving fire Wednesday evening, but firefighters were able to spare the adjacent home from any significant damage.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department was called to a reported structure fire at 593 Forest Home Road, owned by Richard and Sandra Ducatt, at 6:36 p.m.
Richard Ducatt told the Enterprise he had just come back into the house from his garage when he heard what sounded like a small explosion.
Saranac Lake firefighter Ryan Siddell approaches the scene of a garage fire Wednesday night at 593 Forest Home Road in Lake Clear.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
"I had filled the (garage) furnace with hardwood, and then I went out," he said. "I heard a bang. I thought it had to be a tire. I went back out, and the garage was on fire."
Ducatt's son Mike lives across the street.
"By the time I got the call, the garage was just totally engulfed," he said.
Mike Ducatt and his father tried to douse the flames with water from a garden hose while they waited for firefighters to arrive, but they had to back off as the blaze grew more intense.
"There were two or three acetylene tanks in there," Mike said. "Once it got hot, they started to blow, and we had to get away."
Saranac Lake Fire Chief Brendan Keough said the garage fire was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived at the scene. Flames extended to the house, roughly 15 away, and got into its attic, he said in a press release.
The Paul Smiths-Gabriels, Bloomingdale and Lake Placid volunteer fire departments also responded to the scene with tanker trucks and manpower.
Firefighters poured water on the garage from the outside to try and keep the flames from further spreading to the Ducatts' home. A group of firefighters wearing air packs and carrying axes and other tools entered the home while another firefighter climbed a ladder to extinguish the fire in the attic.
Despite their best efforts, the garage was completely destroyed. A backhoe and Mike Ducatt's Chevrolet Trailblazer, which were parked inside the garage, were also lost.
"I just put a new lift and a whole bunch of stuff," Richard Ducatt said. "I've got a lot of money right there. It was built in 1984, and I just put a pile of money into it this year to finish it."
Although the garage was a total loss, Keough described fire damage to the Ducatts' house as "minimal," calling it "a great effort by all firefighters to save the house and keep the damage to a minimum."
Keough said one firefighter suffered a minor injury while battling the blaze.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.
The Ducatts said they didn't have any idea what caused the blaze, although Mike Ducatt speculated that it could have been sparked by the furnace in the garage.
Richard Ducatt said he has insurance for his home but not for the garage.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department sent four trucks and 29 members to the scene. They were all back at the fire station by 11:30 p.m. Lake Placid firefighters manned the Saranac Lake firehouse during the call.