Witnesses: Explosions then fire at Butler County garage

Christopher Wilson feared the worst when he saw the thick, black smoke, then heard several explosions.

Wilson said he was planting flowers at his girlfriend’s house on Oxford-Middletown Road on Monday morning when he saw neighbors all looking at a building several homes away. After seeing the smoke, Wilson said he heard small explosions — he compared them to a gas can exploding — followed by another explosion that shook the ground, he said.

Crews from Wayne and Madison townships battled a fully engulfed structure fire behind a house on Oxford-Middletown Road on Monday, June 5. GREG LYNCH / STAFF (Staff Writer)

“I’m telling you, buddy, you could feel it in your chest,” Wilson said. “We could feel it that far down. That’s how big it was. I thought a car exploded. That one explosion was massive.”

Crews extinguish residential fire

Rick Youmans, who lives in the 5400 block of Oxford-Middletown Road, said he was welding on a Chevy pick-up truck in his three-car, detached garage Monday when he stepped inside his house. When he came back outside, he said, he saw flames shooting out of his garage.

He lost all three vehicles that were parked in the garage, all his tools, paint, everything, he said. He estimate the loss of the three vehicles at $48,000.

“A lot of junk” he said when asked what he saw when he looked at his destroyed garage. “It’s all replaceable.”

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Youmans said he doesn’t how the fire started, though it could have been a bottle on his welder.

Fire officials said the garage contained several acetylene and oxygen tanks that caused several explosions.

There were no injuries and fire departments from Wayne and Madison townships and the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield responded to the fire at 10:30 a.m. The road was closed in both directions while the blaze was extinguished.

Madison Twp. fire officials said when they arrived they found a fully involved large detached garage fire. The house that sits in front of the garage was in exposure and “getting ready to catch fire,” officials said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and protected the residential exposure.

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