COLUMBIA — Steve Fedenia, a former volunteer firefighter for the Boone County Fire Protection District, knew the signs of a fire. So when his own garage caught fire Sunday, he knew exactly what to do.
He told his wife to call 911 and then "grabbed a hose and did my best until they (firefighters) got here,” he said.
At about 3:45 p.m., Fedenia was swimming in his backyard at 2408 Katy Lane with his kids, Nick, 7, and Aida, 2, when he saw smoke coming from his garage, he said.
At the same time, his wife Dana was having a jewelry party with friends inside her home when she saw smoke. Dana Fedenia said she thought it was coming from a barbecue grill.
“The guests helped get the kids out of the house,” she said.
When Steve saw the black smoke, he knew it was a fire, Dana Fedenia said.
"I am completely relieved that he was even home," she said.
Steve Fedenia served as a volunteer firefighter for about two years. His final year was about six years ago in 2003, he said.
“You have to be ready for everything," he said. "I was shocked, but with the kids and everything else, you get used to the unexpected. You can’t get upset, you gotta stay calm and take care of it – just stay calm and get through it and make sure everyone is safe.”
Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Warren Jr. said, “We got there pretty quick. By the time we got there, the fire was out.”
Origins of the fire are still under investigation. A possible origin is combustible materials next to a heated source, said Lt. Stephen Potter, an assistant fire marshal with the Columbia Fire Department.
The fire originated in the front left corner of the garage, Warren said. There is an estimate of $5,000 in damage, he said.
The family has homeowner's insurance, Dana Fedenia said.