Unraveling the Fire Hose

Union and St. Clair fire crews Wednesday fought this detached garage fire at 1078 Franklin Ave. located off Highway 47 south of Union. Investigators suspect the fire began in a wood-burning stove located in the garage. The adjacent home was not damaged and there were no injuries in the blaze, officials said.

Investigators suspect a wood-burning stove was the ignition source of a fire that destroyed a detached garage and vehicle Wednesday afternoon.

Franklin County Arson Investigator Jim Schuhmacher said the fire was reported at 1:23 p.m. at 1078 Franklin Ave. off Highway 47 south of Union at a home owned by Ray Thoms.

“I don’t think there is anything suspicious about this,” Schuhmacher said.

He explained that the homeowners’ son, Michael Thoms, started a fire in a wood-burning stove located in the two-car deatched garage. He stoked the fire, and then went to the adjacent home.

Thoms was warming the garage before he and his father began work on a vehicle inside the building.

“He was inside making food and saw heavy thick black smoke pouring from the garage,” Schuhmacher said.

Michael Thoms called 911 and he and a brother exited the home.

The garage was fully involved once Union Fire Protection District crews arrived on the scene. The St. Clair fire district provided mutual aid.

“Union firemen got on the scene very quickly, but it was pretty well involved,” Schuhmacher said.

The fire was under control by 1:46 p.m., officials said.

He noted that there were many aerosol cans inside the garage that exploded during the fire.

There were eight Union trucks, and two St. Clair trucks dispatched to the blaze.

Schuhmacher said the garage was destroyed in the fire, as well as a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager parked inside.

Michael Thoms moved another car parked near the garage before the fire spread.

There was minor damage to the vinyl siding of the home next to the garage, Schuhmacher added.