Fire burns through garage

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Naugatuck firefighters battle a blaze in a garage at a home at 8 Cotton Hollow Court in Naugatuck on Friday afternoon. -ALIA MALIK
Naugatuck firefighters battle a blaze in a garage at a home at 8 Cotton Hollow Court in Naugatuck on Friday afternoon. -ALIA MALIK

NAUGATUCK — A fire that erupted in a wastebasket Friday afternoon spread through a detached garage behind 8 Cotton Hollow Court.

Roy Yoder, 59, who owns the house, said he was using a band saw to cut wood in the garage when he noticed the trash can was on fire. After trying unsuccessfully to put it out, he left the garage and called 911.

Yoder’s wife and his 18-year-old nephew were in the house, but all left uninjured, he said.

A full crew of firefighters, plus two chiefs working extra hours, responded and sprayed the garage with hoses from two 500-gallon pumper trucks, which were hooked to fire hydrants. Likely fueled by all the wood, fire spread to a tree behind the garage and the roof, which collapsed about an hour later as tall flames licked upward.

The fire did not spread to the house. Firefighters used a ladder truck to spray water from the house roof down onto the garage’s roof.

Yoder said the 1,600-square-foot garage housed his wood shop, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro and a large collection of baseball cards from the 1950s.

“We actually saved the Camaro, and his son drove it down the street,” said Capt. Greg Flaherty. “That was one piece of good news.”

The contents of half the garage were destroyed, but many of the baseball cards appeared to be salvageable, Flaherty said.

A dog and an outdoor cat were not harmed, but a calico cat named Boots was probably in the house and was unaccounted for Friday afternoon, Yoder said.

Yoder uses a wheelchair and has Parkinson’s disease, his wife Sharon said.

“Everybody’s OK,” Sharon Yoder said. “I was so afraid he was in the garage.”

This was the third fire the family has dealt with in a year, Sharon Yoder said. A lamp caught fire in the living room in October, and a chimney fire broke out in the couple’s New York house in January, Sharon Yoder said.

The fire was contained by 5 p.m., but firefighters remained on scene past 10 p.m. to make sure there were no flare ups. Firefighters called in an excavator to remove hot spots that were burning underneath the roof.

The cause of the fire was under investigation Friday night.

Andrew Larson contributed to this report.