MERIDEN — A local man suffered burn injuries when the garage in which he was working suddenly caught fire Monday evening at 206 Gale Ave.
Firefighters responded to multiple 911 calls at 7:10 p.m. and arrived to find the home’s detached wooden garage engulfed in flames. The fire in the 30-foot-by-30-foot structure, located about 40 feet from the house, was put out in about 30 minutes, Assistant Fire Chief Russ Donovan said.
The garage sustained heavy damage and a sports utility vehicle parked in front of it was destroyed in the blaze. The fire also spread to the house, melting a portion of the siding and part of the shingles, but did not extend inside, Donovan said. Flames burned a section of the yard and a tree on its path toward the home, he said.
“Because it’s wood, there’s nothing to stop it,” Bowen said.
Black clouds of smoke, which could be seen as far away as Wallingford to the east, drew a crowd of spectators at a rear parking lot on Hall Avenue.
Firefighters arrived to find Anthony Vance on the lawn using a garden hose on his burns. According to his great uncle Charles Woronick, Vance was using dry gasoline to start a moped when a spark ignited the blaze.
“He came running in and told me to call the Fire Department,” said Woronick, who owns the property. “I guess he burned his hands.”
Vance was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.
Three engines and a ladder truck responded to the call, and police provided traffic control. The road remained closed for about 90 minutes. It was reopened at about 9:40 p.m.
The official cause of the fire remains under investigation by the fire marshal’s office.