Nick Collins was washing his truck about noon Wednesday when he noticed smoke pouring from a garage across the street.
He and his friend Levi Dauenhauer, 19, called 911 to report the fire at 2016 W. Grand Ronde Ave., at 12:16 p.m.
Thick black smoke billowed from the open garage of Dauenhauer's neighbor. They knocked on the house door but no one was inside.
The fire looked like it started toward the back of the garage, said Collins, 22, of Richland.
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The cause of the blaze still is under investigation but investigators believe it may have been started by a homeowner's cigarette. The owners arrived after the fire crews but were not up to talking about what happened.
Kennewick firefighters were helped by crews from the Richland Fire Department, Benton Fire District 1 and Franklin Fire District 3.
Kennewick Fire Chief Neil Hines said, at first, they thought the fire had spread from the garage to the one-story house. But when firefighters broke through the ceiling in both the garage and house, there were no flames.
But the fire was smoldering inside between the old shingles and red metal roof panels, Hines said.
Firefighters cut open the red metal with a chainsaw and sprayed water to extinguish the fire in the shingles underneath.
A damage estimate was not available but Hines said the house appeared to be in good shape and the contents were saved, though the garage was gutted.
A dog at the house was not harmed, but a firefighter was taken to the hospital to be checked for heat-related issues, Hines said.
Roof fire damages Kennewick apartments
About 30 firefighters helped put out a roof fire late Tuesday night at the Heatherstone Apartments, 1114 W. 10th Ave., in Kennewick.
Four adults sleeping in the upstairs apartment escaped unharmed, and the damage was estimated at more than $50,000.
Mark Yaden, Kennewick fire marshal, said the cause is under investigation, but it appears the fire started just before 11:30 p.m. on a deck of an upstairs unit.
Flames and water damage affected two apartments, with most of the burn damage in the attic, Yaden said.
"We're asking the public to call 628-0333 if anyone saw the fire early on or noticed how it started. We are looking for witnesses," Yaden said.