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Corvette blamed for Woodstock house fire

Blaze contained to garage and attic, but homeowner claims firefighters caused more damage to his house than actual fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fire damaged a Westside house Monday afternoon after the homeowner said his Corvette ignited inside the garage.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said crews responded about 2:45 p.m. to the fire at the home on Melson Avenue at Commonwealth Avenue, just east of Edgewood Avenue.

The homeowner told News4Jax that he started the Corvette for the first time in a while and it caught fire inside of the garage.

“I started up a car that hasn’t been started in 15 years in the garage and it caught fire," homeowner Ralph Alvarez said.

Alvarez said he then turned off the car. He admitted there was a lot of smoke inside, but he said he believes firefighters caused more damage to his house than the actual fire when they arrived on scene to put out the blaze.

“I told them it’s just the car that’s smoking and it may just be a little bit on the car. Then they broke in through the front door on the other side of the house and they tore everything up," Alvarez said.

But the battalion chief who News4Jax spoke with said his crews did everything by the book to safely keep the home from going up in flames.

Fire investigators said that by the time crews arrived, smoke was everywhere, and it was even coming out of vents near the roof of the home. Cellphone video recorded by a neighbor shows thick, black smoke pouring out of her neighbor’s garage as firefighters work to get inside and put out the blaze. Investigators also said the Corvette inside the garage was still on fire and that flames from the burning car traveled through a vent that connects the garage to the house.

The battalion chief said there was so much smoke coming out of the house that his crews had to go in through the front door of the home to prevent flames in the attic from spreading. Fire investigators said the blaze was contained to the garage and attic.

The battalion chief also said the fire from the car may have damaged a support beam in the garage that holds the roof in place.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters were called Monday afternoon to a house fire in the Woodstock neighborhood of Jacksonville.
Firefighters were called Monday afternoon to a house fire in the Woodstock neighborhood of Jacksonville. (WJXT)

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