Posted By: Camila Orti
Officials confirmed a large house fire in South Lincoln was started by a riding lawnmower.
City fire inspector Chuck Schweitzer says there was a problem in the engine of the mower, which caused it to catch on fire inside the garage of the home.
Officials estimate the fire caused a total of $600,000 in damages, and it is being called a total loss.
It took crews nearly two hours to put out a house fire at 6611 Blue Ridge Lane in the Williamsburg neighborhood, near 38th and Pine Lake Road.
Officials say the homeowners called in a garage fire around noon.
"The garage was fully involved with fire, meaning there was a fire all around it, and the fire was actually coming out the roof of the garage part of it," Borer said.
But when firefighters couldn't keep the flames from creeping up into the attic and roof, things got more complicated.
"Anytime it's in that location it's very difficult, you have to either breach the ceiling, which we do, or cut a hole in the roof, which we did as well," Borer said. "It just takes a long time to make it happen."
Officials say there were more than 30 crew members fighting the flames.
When it's this hot outside, officials say firefighters have to take turns working in shorter shifts, which also takes more time.
"We are working in heavy clothing, we're carrying heavy tools, and the humidity- it just doesn't allow us to work as long," Borer said.
The three people inside the home all got out safely with no injuries.
Officials say there is extensive water and fire damage throughout the house, plus a completely collapsed roof.
Schweitzer says to avoid problems, let mowers and other machinery cool outside before putting them back in the garage.