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Early morning fire blazes Gas City home

HOME: Three garages attached to the back of the home, located on the 100 block of Broadway Street, were completely destroyed during a fire Thursday at 2:50 a.m.

by Andrew Maciejewski and Tim Tedeschi - ctreport@indy.rr.com

A Gas City family woke up around 2:50 a.m. Thursday to a neighbor telling them their house on the 100 block of Broadway Street was on fire.

Gas City Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Linn said two trucks arrived within three minutes to find three-fourths of the home completely involved, with parts of the structure collapsing.

“The three garages were completely engulfed, and the back half of the house was engulfed also,” he said. “We had a big fire on our hands.”

Firefighters got the flames under control in about 45 minutes, but crews fought hot spots until about 6:30 a.m., Linn said.

“The garage had quite a few auto parts and equipment that hindered the extinguishment of the fire,” Linn said. “There was flammable gas in there, there were torches, propane tanks, a little bit of everything, and that hindered part of the process.”

Homeowner Joe Lowe said he had recently returned from work and was watching TV when the commotion began.

“I heard a noise and came outside and there was the fire... I turned around and ran back in the house and said get the kids, get the kids… But everybody got out safe, dogs and all of us,” he said. “God was looking out for us.”

Although it’s not official, Linn said fire investigators believe an electrical shortage from the truck or motorcycle in the garage caused the fire. He said no foul play is expected at this time, although the fire is still under investigation.

Linn estimates that at least $65,000 of damage was done to the uninsured home. He said everything inside the home suffered heat and smoke damage as well.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family, but Lowe said there is a structure behind the house that he plans to renovate, saying the health of his family is most important.

“We all got out safe… As long as we’re healthy, we can start over,” he said. “We’ll renovate, and we’ll have a new house in five days. We will, I guarantee it.”

Lowe said the community has been supportive of his family.

“This community has been so fantastic, not just with this, in every aspect,” he said. “I can think of in lots of ways. We lost a son a few years ago and the town was right there, all the way around. I can’t say enough good about them.”