GARAGE FIRE: Row of Garages Destroyed

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Fire investigators spent a cold overnight trying to find the cause of a fire that destroyed a row of garages at a West Des Moines apartment complex.

Several people called 911 just after midnight to report the fire at the Washington Heights Apartments.

Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming out of the south end of the unit.

West Des Moines Fire Marshal Mike Whitsell says the row of garages had about 12 units.

He says at least four of those have extensive damage.

Fire crews tried to get a handle on the fire quickly so nearby apartments would not be at risk.

Putting out the fire was a bit tricky for firefighters because many residents us them as storage.

“We have no idea exactly what that storage is.  We start hearing things that are on fire making pops and bangs and things like that.  And our job is to get in there and try and get that fire out as quickly as possible and hope there’s not something in there that’s extremely hazardous to us or bystanders.”  Whitsell said along with hazards in the garages, firefighters had to deal with ice.

He said several firefighters slipped and fell on the ice, but no one was hurt.