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Trash fire damages garage, may be arson
JOHN WARNER/Gazette Staff Billings Fire Department engineer Wayne Fischer watches for falling debris as he moves around a garage fire in the 100 block of Grand Avenue Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured and a car inside the building was removed by the owner before it was damaged.

Gazette Staff

Billings fire investigators believe someone intentionally set a fire that damaged a detached garage behind 624 N. 32nd Street Wednesday evening.

Deputy Fire Marshal Mike Spini said someone set fire to trash in plastic garbage cans in the alley near the garage.

Fire crews were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, Battalion Chief Carl Zabrocki said. Firefighters stopped the flames just before they reached a car in the garage, Zabrocki said. The owner drove the car out, and firefighters washed it down.

Neighbors watched as smoke rose from the charred remains of the garage. Spini estimated damage at about $20,000. About one-third of the garage was destroyed.

Neighbor Trish Olsen watched as fire crews extinguished the blaze and cleaned up the scene.

"I was just in my house with my shades pulled, and then I saw the fire truck," Olsen said. "I came outside and saw the smoke and the flames."

Olson is worried the same thing could happen to her house, which is 100 years old.

Anyone with information about the fire should call Billings Police Detective Blake Richardson at 657-8475.

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