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.
Publish date:
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

Jaden McDaniels

Wolves lose to Magic on Cole Anthony's buzzer-beater

The Wolves blew a 20-point lead as the Magic defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

J.A. Happ

Twins sign veteran J.A. Happ to add to the rotation

The left-hander will get a one-year, $8 million deal from the Twins.

storm the capitol rally st. paul minnesota state capitol

BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among those at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 12.27.04 PM

Man's vehicles crushed by hit-and-run driver weren't fully insured

The goal is to raise $25,000 to help the south Minneapolis resident.

Joe Biden

Key points from Joe Biden's first speech as POTUS

The 46th president called for unity at a time America is facing huge challenges.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 20

The 111 ICU patients is the fewest in Minnesota since there were 109 COVID patients in intensive care on Oct. 1.


Here's what Amy Klobuchar said at Joe Biden's inauguration

The Minnesota senator was one of the leader organizers of the inauguration.

covid-19, vaccine

All of this week's COVID vaccine pilot program appointments are filled

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Osterholm affidavit ahead of George Floyd trial warns of COVID worsening in March

Prosecutors want to delay the Chauvin trial due to a public health threat.


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.

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 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

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.

Man arrested following deadly Minneapolis apartment fire

The apartment fire happened late Friday night.

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.