The burning smell could be detected throughout downtown Valley City in the early morning hours on Wednesday, but only those in the vicinity of the 400 block of Fifth Avenue Southwest could identify the source.
No one was injured in the fire that damaged two homes and three cars. A caller reported a fire in a shed-like structure between the houses at 424 and 440 5th Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. While the cause of the fire was still under investigation Wednesday afternoon, Valley City Fire Chief Gary Retterath surmised the fire began in a vehicle parked at the shed and climbed the south wall of 424.
“Indications show that that’s a good possibility, and I’ll guess we’ll leave it at that for now unless something else comes up,” Retterath said.
“Once the car heated up and the shed that the car was in heated up, the shed was only two feet away from the house and it escaped through cracks and openings in the shed and reached the house very easily. Once it got hotter and hotter, there was enough radiant heat to radiate over to the red house’s garage (440).”
Retterath said it appears both houses may be salvageable, depending on the insurance and what the owners want to do.