Auburn garage goes up in smoke

Residents tried to put out fire with garden hoses
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Firefighters battled a raging blaze that consumed a small garage and damaged part of an Auburn home Wednesday evening. The fire was in full force by about 6 p.m. as six engines, three water tenders and the crews that manned them tried to douse the flames. Small explosions erupted as propane tanks or gasoline cans caught on fire, according to Cal Fire battalion chief Jeff Brand. Brand said debris in the small garage was also catching fire. Crews had contained the flames enough to protect the single-family residence only a few feet away, he said. However, some of the interior was damaged, Brand reported. Residents of the home, which is located on the 4000 block of Grass Valley Highway near Lorenson Road, stood in a neighbor’s yard and watched as the fire consumed their backyard. Josh Hartmann, who said he has shared the home with his girlfriend, another couple and one man for the past three months, said they smelled smoke and walked into the backyard. He said when they saw flames they initially tried to put out the fire with garden hoses. “It started getting way too hot,” Hartmann said. Hartmann said the garage housed a few materials including electrical paint. He said his truck was also in the backyard and feared that it had been destroyed. As he sat outside on the grass, he gave a pat to his dog and glanced over at the handful of kittens they were able to save from inside the home. “Hopefully we’ll be able to stay here,” Hartmann said. “If now, we’re out of a home…. It just went up so quickly.” As of Wednesday evening, no injuries were reported and the cause remains under investigation. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.