Firefighters from the Brainerd Fire Department and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stopped a small garage fire Friday morning in Barrows from spreading on a day when fire conditions were near the critical level.

Crews responded to 6982 Holmes Ave. shortly after a call came in at 10:10 a.m. Friday.

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According to Crow Wing County tax records, Elliott Ruckdaschel owns the property, but his son Brock said neither he nor his father lives there. The property consists of a small house and mobile home with a larger two-car garage and a smaller, about one-car-sized garage.

Ruckdaschel said he was riding his motorcycle on his way to work Friday morning when a friend called to tell him his house was on fire. He lives down the street on Holmes Avenue with a girlfriend.

"I rushed over here as fast as I could," Ruckdaschel said.

When he arrived, firefighters were already on the scene working to put out the fire in the small garage. The small garage was almost entirely gone, with only a couple corner support posts left standing. Firefighters kept it from spreading to the larger garage as well as the surrounding area, though scorched earth was visible in a radius of about 15-20 feet surrounding the garage. The home is in a rural, forested area.

About 10 cars, trucks and vans were parked on the property, but the fire was only able to reach one of the cars and a boat, which were totaled by the fire. There's all manner of mechanical equipment in the garages, Ruckdaschel said, ranging from scooters and motorcycles to stereos and a lawn mower.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said it was too early to say Friday morning what the cause of the fire was, and the department would be investigating. Firefighters were concerned about the fire igniting a propane tank which sits behind the small garage, he said, but were able to keep that from happening.

Ruckdaschel and his father used the property to store and work on cars and other vehicles, which included the boat that burned and an Airstream trailer which wasn't affected by the fire.

"All our toys are gone," Ruckdaschel said.

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or Follow on Twitter at