Two Stephenville residents got a rude awakening about 9 a.m. Friday when smoke filled the garage of their home.
Stephenville firefighters were dispatched to the residence in the 200 block of Sharp Street after one of the residents and a passerby made a call for help.
Tarleton student Tyler Gentry was in the kitchen preparing his morning coffee when he smelled smoke. Gentry exited the home and realized the smoke was coming from his garage. He went back inide to wake his roommate, Ryan Koonsman, then called 911.
“I was asleep when he came in and said the garage was on fire,” Koonsman said. “I thought he was messing with me.”
Meanwhile, Empire-Tribune newspaper carrier Laura Gober and her daughter, Heather Nance, were making their way across the city on their Friday garage sale route when they saw smoke. The women also called for help.
“At first I thought somebody was already out barbecuing,” Nance said. “Then I looked at the house and thought the truck was on fire. All of a sudden I realized the smoke was coming out of the garage. I said, ‘Oh no! That house is on fire!’”
When firefighters arrived, the fire had been reduced to a smolder, according to Fire Chief Jimmy Chew.
“There was no real structural damage,” Chew said. “I believe the fact that the water heater was in a closet helped reduce the damage. The space was tight enough to allow all of the oxygen to burn off quickly and extinguish the fire.”
Chew said Fire Inspector Cody Derrick estimated damage to the home at $5,000. The closet which contained the hot water heater was damaged, as well as sheet rock and paint. The house also sustained smoke damage.
Gentry said he was appreciative of the firefighters’ response.
“They took this as serious as they would have a full-fledged fire,” Gentry said.
No injuries were reported.