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Midnight fire destroys garage on Belvedere's Beach Road

Updated: May 23

(Handout photo)

A midnight fire ripped through a detached garage on Belvedere's Beach Road early May 21, with neighbors reporting at least two explosions that blew out a window and the garage door.

The owners of 228 Beach Road were home at the time, but no one was injured, according to Tiburon Fire Protection District Capt. Daniel Elkington, though the two cars inside were destroyed. Elkington was on the scene mopping up late yesterday morning as the county's fire investigation team sought to determine the cause.

The residents, who couldn't not be reached for comment, and neighbors at 246 Beach Road were evacuated and stayed with neighbors, while the city red-tagged the garage as unsafe.

The dispatch call came in about 12:15 a.m. May 21, summoning crews from the Tiburon, Southern Marin, Central Marin and Marin County fire agencies. It took the 15-20 firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

Neighbor Jenny Jackoboice told The Ark she and her son, Jack, were the first to spot the fire and called authorities. She said she typically goes to bed early but happened to stay up to wait for her son, who'd been out with friends. When he got home, she said, Jack told her he smelled smoke and thought it was coming from 228 Beach.

From their balcony they at first saw only smoke coming from the garage but suddenly saw a spark explode and blow out a window on the building, prompting her to call the Tiburon fire agency, Belvedere police and 911.

While waiting, Jackoboice said she then yelled "fire, fire, fire, wake up!" from her balcony to alert her neighbors. She said one of the 228 Beach residents texted her to thank her, saying they could have slept through the fire.

Next-door neighbor Barry Kuhn of 222 Beach Road, said she smelled smoke from her home and saw it around Belvedere Cove between midnight and 12:15 a.m.

She said she hosed down the bushes, wooden fences and patio between her property and 228 Beach to prevent the fire from spreading while she waited for fire agencies to arrive.

“It affected us greatly because it was a serious potential wildfire,” she said.

She said sparks were flying with the wind, the garage was engulfed and the two cars in the garage were “burnt to a crisp.”

Jackoboice said the fire escalated quickly. After hearing a few more explosions the garage door blew out.

“It was like out of a movie,” she said. “It was a raging fire within seconds!”

Elkington said the fire agencies’ greatest challenge was getting all the vehicles up Beach Road, a narrow, one-way street.

“We are so incredibly grateful that (the fire agencies) got there when they did,” Jackoboice said. “A few minutes (longer), it would have been a whole different thing.”

Reach Belvedere, Strawberry and public-safety reporter Naomi Friedland at 415-944-4627.

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