By Shereen Siewert

Fire crews in Merrill battled two structure fires in less than five hours on Thursday, according to a news release from Merrill Fire Chief Josh Klug.

The first blaze was reported at about 3:50 p.m. at the Golden Hawk Canoe Co., 121 Valley St., where heavy smoke and flames poured from the northwest corner of the building. Firefighters entered the building and extinguished the blaze, then ventilated the structure to clear the remaining smoke. Fire officials say a lightning strike is likely to blame for the blaze.

Then at 8:19 p.m., a 911 caller reported a blaze at N2591 Airport Road in the town of Merrill. Crews arriving six minutes later found the attached garage fully involved with flames spreading into the home. Klug said crews used handlines to knock down the fire from the outside before making an interior attack.

Once inside the building, crews put out hotspots and ensured the fire didn’t spread. The homeowner was welding on a car in the garage when the fire, which is believed unintentional, broke out.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Photo courtesy of the Merrill Fire Department