Publish date:

Rochester firefighters were 'unknowingly at great risk' of 'very rapidly growing fire'

There was more than a thousand gallons of fuel in in the garage that caught fire.
Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 10.48.49 AM

A garage fire in Rochester could've been much worse had firefighters not contained it when they did. 

According to Rochester Fire Department, the garage fire happened at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 1500 block of 19th Ave.

After dousing the flames, firefighters found approximately 1,100 gallons of highly flammable E85 fuel; there were nearly two dozen 55-gallon containers and one 200-gallon container. 

The fire remains under investigation and the Rochester Fire Department is calling it suspicious.

But the blaze could've been much worse, according to Fire Chief Eric Kerska. 

"It would have been a VERY rapidly growing fire—a dramatic event, that some might describe as an explosion," Kerska tells BMTN, noting that they got to the fire before the fuel ignited. 

"However, technically, an explosion by definition would have been unlikely. Because of the close proximity of homes, we probably would have had the loss of more than one home because of the fuel load and the large amount of firefighters, pumping capacity and water needed to mitigate such a large fire."

Kerska added that his firefighters "were unknowingly at great risk" because of the fuel. 

"While it goes with the job, it disappoints me that people can be so careless with the welfare of others," said Kerska. 

Nobody was injured in the fire, fortunately. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

CDC biohazard scientist health work

New clue may explain how rare tropical disease sickened Minnesotan

The disease, known as melioidosis, killed 2 people earlier this year.

Sen Mark Koran crop

MN lawmaker encourages donations for locals charged in Jan. 6 insurrection

"They are a good family!" Sen. Mark Koran wrote Friday.


Money Gal Coaching: Mastering the spiritual parts of money

Kelly Blodgett used her passion behind becoming debt free to launch Money Gal Coaching.

University of minnesota sign

U of M will now require proof that employees have been vaccinated for COVID

Previously, only students were required to be vaccinated.

Jim Hagedorn

Report reveals details about ethics investigation into Rep. Hagedorn

The congressman described the report's findings as "unfounded conclusions."


SkyWest cancels hundreds of flights due to server error

More than 80 have been canceled at MSP Airport.


First elk in more than 100 years spotted in parts of southern WI

The elk population was reintroduced to Wisconsin in recent decades.

grand marais

10 beautiful Minnesota cities to visit for outdoor adventures

These places are perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.


fire, flames

1 person dead, firefighter injured in Columbia Heights fire

The fire was reported around 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 8.48.14 AM

Fire crews rescue residents from suspected arson fire in St. Paul

Seventeen residents, including three children, have been displaced.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

Firefighters find body in 2nd search of Minneapolis home

The fire happened at the 4200 block of 25th Avenue South.

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 12.33.40 PM

Numerous 'intentionally set' fires in St. Paul neighborhoods

The fires were reported overnight Sunday into Monday morning.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 7.01.16 AM

Arson suspected in Sunday fire at St. Paul tire shop

Authorities think it may have been started intentionally.

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 12.31.36 PM

Pre-Thanksgiving strip mall fire in Crystal ruled arson

Police hope the public can help with information about the fire.

Screen Shot 2021-03-22 at 6.32.32 AM

Police trying to ID car linked to possible arson in New Brighton

A garage was set on fire and a lawn sign was stolen.