Garage fire

Smoke billows out of a collapsed garage as the Sheldon Fire Co. works to put out the rest of the flames at a fire at 2980 Oak Hill Ave. on Tuesday, April 20.

For Chris Van Beek, the burning question is how a fire started on his property three miles northeast of Sheldon.

While the fire destroyed the second oldest structure at 2980 Oak Hill Ave., it was the smallest building on the property.

The Sheldon Fire Co. was paged for a garage fire at Van Beek’s property at 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

When the firefighters arrived at the scene, the garage was fully engulfed in flames and the roof was collapsing.

A propane tank was located directly behind the two-stall, 400-square-foot garage.

A two-story, 2,122-square-foot house sat about 15 feet west of the burning structure.

One crew of firefighters worked on extinguishing the garage fire while another crew cooled the propane tank.

The Sheldon Fire Co. and the Ashton Fire Department were successful in keeping the fire contained to the garage.

While there was damage to the west side of the house, the fire did not spread to the house and the propane tank was left unharmed.

The garage was a total loss and the cause of the fire is undetermined due to the severe damage.

No injuries were reported from the fire.

“You don’t want anybody ever to get hurt. It’s just the wood, you can replace wood,” Van Beek said. “That was the second-oldest structure on the property and I’m sorry it’s gone. It was so destroyed that there is no way of knowing what the heck happened.”

He was not on the property when the fire started as he does not live on there. There are four other large structures on the property and it is the base for his Van Beek Honey Haulers company.

One of Van Beek’s employee lives on the property with his fiancée.

All of the contents in the garage were considered a total loss by the Sheldon Fire Co., which used about 3,500 gallons of water and 15 gallons of foam to put out the blaze.

“They just had some toys in there, snowmobiles and four-wheelers,” Van Beek said. “I only had a few tools and battery chargers. He had a lot of stuff in there.”

While the house did not catch on fire, the damage was noticeable on the west side of the building with damage to the siding and some broken windows.

The assessor visited the house on Friday, Van Beek said, and the house is still livable.

“It melted the siding off and broke some of the windows,” Van Beek said. “That’s where they have the office and his fiancée works from home and I think that’s how she saw the fire.”