'Tanks started to explode,' Southfield fire chief says of garage fire
Garage damaged but no one injured in fire on Berg Road, says Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee. David Guralnick/The Detroit News
Southfield — A garage with hazardous material stored inside on Berg near West Nine Mile caught fire Wednesday, destroying the garage and a home, fire officials said.
There were no injuries and there was no danger of airborne releases to the community, Fire Department officials said.
The fire appears to have started from an equipment malfunction in the garage used as work space by an artist, fire officials said.
A 700-foot driveway on the property was an issue for firefighters, said Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee.
“It’s a 700-foot driveway to the back of the residence, which created a problem for us,” Menifee said. “When crews started to go in, we saw tanks that started to explode. From there, we pulled back, got defensive ..."
The fire started around 4 p.m. in the garage and spread to the property owner's home, destroying both.
The homeowner had been working on large statues made of cement and plastic, officials said.
Menifee said the owner of the property tried to extinguish the fire himself but called 911 when it grew out of control.
The owner told firefighters he had hazardous materials in the 40-by-40 foot garage, Menifee said.
Crews isolated the materials including acetone, propane and kerosene.
“We’re just waiting for them to mop up everything, put out little fires and then we will bring in our investigative team to try and determine a cause,” Menifee said before the initial finding of equipment malfunction.
The Fire Department responded to a similar incident in the same area last year.