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February 06. 2013 11:04AM

Three-stall garage destroyed in Lebanon blaze

LEBANON - A two-alarm blaze Tuesday morning destroyed a two-story, three-bay detached garage at an Eastman Hill Road residence in a rural part of the city.

Assistant fire chief Jeffrey Libbey said getting at the blaze required a lot of coordination, firefighters hauling equipment up a steep, 1,800-foot driveway, and tankers shuttling in water from Whaleback Mountain, about a mile away, because there are no water hydrants in that part of the city.

The fire was reported by a Storres Hill Road resident who could see the heavy smoke and flames from a distance. Firefighters also could see the blaze as they headed to the site, and a second alarm was called to bring tankers to the scene. When fire crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames were coming from the second story.

With no fire hydrants available, a temporary pool was set up and a 4-four-inch hose placed up the driveway. However, that then required firefighters to make the 1,800-foot walk up the driveway, carrying other gear, to the fire scene.

Firefighters were hampered in battling the blaze because of the delay in it being reported, water being trucked in, and strong winds that pushed the flames rapidly throughout the structure. An attack plan quickly became a defensive operation because of the widespread fire, according to fire officials.

The second floor collapsed soon after the defensive operation was implemented.

The 109 Eastman Hill Road home, owned by Michael and Christine Michalendick, was never in danger because it sits about 200 yards away form the garage, Libbey said.

Despite the complications, firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 90 minutes, but crews stayed at the scene until just after 4 p.m.

Libby said the fire completely destroyed the garage as well as ATVs stored inside. He estimated damage at more than $100,000.

A living area was above the three-story garage, although it was not occupied,  Libbey said. Where the fire originated and what caused it remains under investigation by Lebanon fire officials and investigators from the state Fire Marshal's Office.




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