CORTLAND – A lawnmower is believed to have caused a fire that destroyed a garage approximately one-half mile south of Highway 41 south of Cortland Tuesday afternoon.
Several fire departments were called to 6140 S. 54th Road at approximately 2:15 p.m. after the blaze started in a detached garage.
Zack Goering said he had put a lawnmower into the garage and started doing other tasks around the yard when the fire started.
“I had just got done mowing the lawn and put the mower in the garage and started watering the flowers up front,” Goering said. “I had my ear buds in, so I didn’t hear anything, but when I got to the other end of the house and I looked up, everything was just smoking.”
“It was crazy,” he added.
Goering quickly backed a Pontiac car away from the garage as he called 911, but was unable to save any other vehicles from the fire.
Cortland Fire Chief Jerry Vrbka said the garage was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
“It was pretty much a done deal by the time we got here,” Vrbka said.
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There were no injuries in the blaze. Goering took two dogs penned near the garage into the home.
Goering said everything inside the garage was a total loss, including the lawnmower, a Jeep, motorcycle, a dirt bike and several appliances and equipment.
“Thankfully, we have full coverage on the Jeep and the motorcycle,” he said.
The fire took firefighters from Cortland, Clatonia, Adams and Pickrell approximately 15 minutes to extinguish, Vrbka said.
A tree near the garage also caught fire, sending embers across the lawn to another structure which briefly ignited.
Firefighters were able to douse both the tree and shed before the fire spread further, however.
Vrbka thanked the other departments that responded to the mutual aid call, calling the system “fantastic.”