By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Roger Meyer and his wife, Judy, were about to get their 5-year-old grandson ready for preschool when their lives were turned upside down.
An installer who had come to put a new door on their house at 1214 Harrison Plaza arrived just before the noon hour on Wednesday. When he got there, he told Meyer that he heard some pops in the attached garage and that he saw smoke.
Not long after, Meyer, his wife, grandson and family dog were outside watching the house burn. No one was injured in the two-alarm blaze, but the house and garage sustained significant damage by the time members of the Quincy Fire Department were able to extinguish the flames.
Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said the call came in at 11:33 a.m. He said crews had just finished a training exercise near Quincy University's North Campus at the time. Henning said a fourth truck was called in after multiple reports of the garage being fully involved were called in.
"We were able to get a good, quick hit on it and stop it, but there was already a lot of damage done by the time we were able to get here," Henning said
The garage and attic of the house appeared to be a complete loss. An hour after Meyer called in the fire, the garage was a charred shell. A vehicle inside the garage was so badly burned that only the framework remained. A Jeep parked in the driveway also sustained a lot of damage. The front wheels on the Jeep melted.
Henning didn't believe that there were any explosions due to the gas inside the vehicle that was in the garage.
"We had some flare ups with fuel leaking out," Henning said.
Meyer said he had lived at the house on Quincy's southeast side for five years. He said the building was seven years old. It's located in a part of town that has seen a lot of construction over the last few years. A new house is being built just two doors to the south of Meyer's house.
Meyer, a Quincy native, said he had moved back to Quincy after serving in the Army for 20 years. He said that his family was never in any danger. Just after the door installer told him about the smoke, fire alarms sounded in the house.
"We came outside and there was smoke coming out of the doors and rafters," Meyer said. "We went in and got our dog, my wife and my grandson and we came outside. We weren't going to go back in.
"We just came outside and watched it go up."
Meyer said he had been in the garage about a half hour before the blaze started and didn't notice anything wrong.
Henning said investigators were going to arrive at the scene later Wednesday to try to determine the fire's origin.
Members with the Quincy Police Department, Quincy Fire Department Rehab Team and Red Cross also assisted at the scene.