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Rapid response salvages house, garage ‘a loss’ in daytime fire on Rockland

July 30, 2012

Punxsutawney firefighters quickly extinguished a working garage fire at 401 Rockland Ave. Monday afternoon. The garage, owned by Jim and Janice Blose, was a total loss. Shown (front to back): Austin Pate and Wanda Thomas, Central firefighters, and Patrick Meckley, Elk Run firefighter, extinguishing the blaze that engulfed the garage. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Thanks to the quick thinking of a passerby and a quick response from the Punxsutawney Fire Department, a garage fire on Rockland Avenue failed to spread to the owners' nearby house.

Central, Elk Run and Lindsey fire companies responded to a working garage fire at 1:56 p.m. Monday at 401 Rockland Ave. The property is owned by Jim and Janice Blose.

There were smoke and flames seen inside the garage when firefighters arrived on scene, said Bryan Smith, Punxsutawney Fire Department chief.

"They got a good hit on it and knocked the flames down before it spread to a nearby shed and possibly the house," he said.

Jim Blose, the owner, said he saw the flames and smoke coming from his garage as he drove up Rockland Avenue.

Smith said there wasn't anyone home at the time of the fire, and a neighbor had called in the quickly spreading blaze thanks to a passerby who saw the smoke and flames through the garage window.

"The garage, which contained hunting equipment and some guns, along with a lawnmower and refrigerator, sustained heavy fire and heat damage," Smith said, adding that he was proud of the job firefighters did in saving the family’s home from any fire damage.

Smith said there were reports from neighbors that two explosions were heard from inside the garage prior to the fire breaking out.

"Once again, our department was able to quickly extinguish a fire during the day when we are short-handed," he said. "The key in the last three fires that occurred during the day was the fires were reported early on, before they really got going."

He said there were no injuries; the garage and its contents were a total loss; and the Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze, which also damaged a nearby shed.

Firefighters were assisted at the scene by Jefferson County EMS and Punxsutawney Borough Police.

McCalmont Township Fire Company was on stand by at Central and Big Run firefighters assisted at the scene with the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) but were sent back once the fire was extinguished.

All units were back in quarters at 3 p.m.

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