Three fire departments were on scene Monday morning as a small explosion and fire damaged the garage of a three-story home on Windsong Way west of Kalispell.
The Smith Valley, Kalispell and South Kalispell fire departments responded to a report of “an attached garage on fire with lots of smoke and fire” at 11:25 a.m. Monday, according to Smith Valley Fire Chief Amy Beick.
According to Beick, the homeowner, Timothy Heaps, had already extinguished the fire before the responding units arrived, helping avert a situation that easily could have been a lot worse.
Heaps said he had been using a torch to work on a snowblower outside of the garage moments before the incident. Heaps said he put the torch on a work cart inside the garage as he went back into the house and thinks the torch must have ignited something on the cart to cause the fire, but Beick said the cause is still undetermined. No one was injured.
The small explosion had enough force to leave the metal garage door bent outward and also blew in two doors on the interior of the garage, including one that ripped the hinges off the wall.
The fire left the work cart in a melted heap, did damage to several other nearby objects and left scorch marks on the wall above the garage door opening.
The extent of the damage is still being assessed and the exact cause is still under investigation.
Reporter Jeremy Weber may be reached at 758-4446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.