Sunday garage fire in Merrill’s Sixth Ward related to use of space heater, overloaded extension cord


The scene of a Sunday afternoon garage fire in Merrill’s Sixth Ward.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, at 2:37 p.m., the Merrill Police Department (MPD) and Merrill Fire Department (MFD) responded to a report of a garage fire at 200 N. Pine Street, on the corner of N. Pine and W. First Streets, in Merrill’s Sixth Ward.
In his fire report, Battalion Chief Tadd Wegener of the MFD indicated “Fire personnel were informed that MPD had deployed a portable fire suppression device without success,” and “Initial 360 drive around with the engine showed heavy smoke.”
The engine was set up on the First Street side of the property and fire was seen coming from one side of the building. The fire was attacked from the outside of the building, during which time it was determined that “the seat of the fire was an ATV that had magnesium components on it” which “reacted violently when water came into contact with it.”
“A space heater and a battery charger were being actively used on the ATV for approximately four hours according to the owner/occupant,” Wagener’s report said. “After the fire, I asked the occupant/owner to show me the heater and charger that were both being used on one extension cord running from the house. It was apparent that the space heater was placed right next to the ATV and very likely caused the plastic components to reach their ignition temperature and ignite.”
“While inside with the owner/occupant, he admitted that it was too close,” the report continued. “I asked if I could go into the home and look at their breaker box and look for any tripped breakers. There was a tripped breaker that fed the extension cord.”

The Merrill Fire Department crew that responded to the Pine St. fire preps the hose lines.

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