Blaze destroys garage


A plume of black smoke rose in the sky to the northeast of Seymour on Saturday afternoon after a fire broke out in a garage owned by Craig and Rita Schaefer.

The blaze destroyed the structure and all its contents, but was contained before causing damage to the couple’s home in the 7000 block of County Road 1000 East, Redding Township Volunteer Fire Chief Seth Thompson said Sunday.

Firefighters arrived on the scene around five minutes after receiving the call at 2 p.m. to find the pole barn engulfed in flames, Thompson said.

“I don’t know if there was a square inch of it that wasn’t on fire,” he said.

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It took around three hours for firefighters to put out the blaze, he added.

Although the damage was extensive, no one was injured as a result of the fire.

“The homeowner was inside the house when someone contacted him and said there was smoke coming from the garage,” Thompson said.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to the Schaefers’ home.

“The house was starting to show early signs of heat damage as some of the paint was bubbling and siding was melting,” Thompson said. “But we were able to stop it from getting any worse.”

No official determination of what caused the fire has been made, but Thompson said it was likely electrical issues.

“He (Craig Schaefer) said he had been having some trouble with a light fixture recently,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if that was the culprit, but it looks like that’s the area where it started.”

Thompson said the garage was full of personal belongings and also was where Craig Schaefer made and stored neon signs.

“He had a lot in it,” Thompson said. “They lost an RV and a bunch of tools, and I think he said he had around 50 neon signs in there.”

It was the neon signs that caused the explosions some people heard, Thompson said.

Rita Schaefer runs a dog grooming business out of their home.

“There had been dogs in a lean to kennel next to the garage, but they were able to get them out,” Thompson said.

Hamilton and Jackson-Washington Township Volunteer Fire Departments and Jackson County Emergency Medical Services also responded to the call.

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