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On owner's birthday, a fire guts his garage

Crews from Silver Bay and Two Harbors fight a garage fire at 627 Eighth Avenue in Two Harbors. The garage is owned by Mark Blankenship. The occupants brought a letter to the News-Chronicle expressing their thanks to the fire crew. Chris Hanson

Two Harbors and Silver Bay volunteer firefighters responded to a garage fire at 627 Eighth Avenue in Two Harbors on Saturday. The house, which was undamaged, and the garage are owned by Mark Blankenship. Melanie Davis, Blankenship's girlfriend, was in the house at the time but a neighbor noticed the fire and called 911, said Larry Sandretsky, one of the firefighters at the scene.

Crews received the page at 2:15 p.m. and fought the blaze until about 5:30 p.m., Sandretsky told the News-Chronicle.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and it is unclear whether the building is a total loss or if it can be rebuilt from the remains, said Blankenship, although he said he'd like to rebuild.

"The garage is one of few of its kind," he said in reference to the 4x12 timber framed structure.

In spite of the fact that the fire occurred on his birthday and he's still a little shaken by the whole experience, Blankenship says he's also grateful that no people or pets were hurt. He and Davis composed a letter of thanks to fire crews and friends and brought it to the News-Chronicle on Tuesday.

"We want to thank the Two Harbors and Silver Bay Fire Departments for their quick response and brave effort to extinguish the fire in our garage," the couple wrote.

"Thanks to their valiant effort no other structures were destroyed and most importantly, no one was hurt. Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts. We would also like to thank all of our neighbors for their help and support."