Ice likely culprit in garage fire |

Ice likely culprit in garage fire

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

A chunk of ice that apparently slid off a roof and cracked a gas valve was the probable cause of a fire Tuesday afternoon inside a garage off Onnontioga and Omaha streets near the Lake Tahoe Airport, officials said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within 20 minutes after arrival. The call came into dispatch at about 12:35 p.m. Tuesday.

The garage, which is detached from an adjacent house, had some moderate structural damage to the roof and sides, said Battalion Chief Joe McAvoy.

From the initial investigation, it appeared that a large chunk of ice slid off the garage roof, hitting and cracking a gas line, McAvoy said. When a heater inside the garage automatically turned on, it ignited the fire, he added.

Firefighters apparently were able to ventilate the fire to avoid a rapid spread, and Southwest Gas turned off the gas line to stop the gas from feeding the flames, according to emergency scanner traffic between dispatch and the crews on the scene.

According to the 911 caller to dispatchers, the home where the fire erupted is unoccupied.

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