Lehigh fire destroys shed, damages house

A garage fire in Lehigh late Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, destroyed a detached garage and its contents and did significant damage to the nearby house.

Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said the fire departments at Hillsboro and Lehigh were called out simultaneously shortly after 4:30 p.m. to the home of Chris and Dalene Jost at 211 N. North Ave.

When Lehigh Chief Brian Unrau arrived first on the scene, he notified Hillsboro the garage was fully in flames and the house was in danger; moments later he reported that flames had reached the house.

Steketee said 19 volunteers and three trucks from Hillsboro eventually arrived on the scene. The decision was made immediately to let the garage go and focus on saving the house, he said.

The exterior flames were soon doused, but the fire had spread into the attic, according to Steketee. Firefighters were able to extinguish those flames quickly, but with some additional interior damage to the house in the process.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Steketee said the house still is structurally sound and could be repaired. There were no injuries in the incident; even the two house cats were saved. But the material loss to tools and equipment in the garage was described as ?significant.?

Among the items lost in the garage were a Harley Davidson motorcycle, wood-working tools and a recently purchased electric generator.

Steketee said it was his understanding that the loss would not be recovered through insurance.

Steketee called the garage fire ?pesky? because of some flammable metals stored inside, including magnesium.

?That?s tough to extinguish with water,? he said.

Steketee said they used a recently acquired foam product created to combat flammable-metal fires.

?We?re satisfied with the results of the foam,? he said.

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