A fire originating in a garage in the 3500 block of Rosemear Avenue in Brookfield on July 12 resulted in that structure being destroyed and left two homes damaged and uninhabitable.

Firefighters from between 12 and 15 different department responded to the scene at about 7 p.m. and early arriving units had some difficulty getting to the fire because of the congestion caused by people curious to see where the large column of black smoke was coming from.

“It’s not really in an accessible area of town,” said Capt. Ed Bermann of the Brookfield Fire Department, referring to the narrow, curving streets and islands that are prevalent in that part of Brookfield. “There was a lot of traffic to see where the column of smoke was coming from just as the fire apparatus were getting there.”

The fire quickly spread from the garage at 3532 Rosemear Ave., which sits between the home at that address and 3540 Rosemear Ave. to the south and just three or four feet from the neighbors’ wood fence.

Diana Scott, who lives at 3540 Rosemear Ave. with her husband, Mark, and teenage son, Jack, was getting caught up on laundry in the basement after power was finally restored to the home two hours earlier following the storm a week ago Monday.

“I heard a crackling sound and smelled smoke,” said Diana, who went to look at what the problem was. “The whole second story of the garage was in flames.”

She grabbed the family’s German shepherd and ran from the home.

“There were flames shooting 40 feet in the air,” she said.

The fire was so intense that it melted vinyl siding on the Scotts’ garage, which was at least 50 feet south of the main blaze. The fire gutted the northern portion of the Scotts’ home on the first and second floors, where the family has their bedrooms. The fire also devastated the finished basement and there was water damage throughout the living room.

At the same time, Sam Sisic at 3532 Rosemear Ave. was glad to be able to turn the air conditioning back on and went online to check his email. He heard something that sounded like his phone ringing and was confronted with a wall of flame coming in through the south window of his home.

“I couldn’t believe what I was looking at,” said Sisic, who ran out of his front door. “I was just beside myself looking at what was happening.”

Bermann said the cause of the fire has not been determined, but confirmed that it appears to have started inside the garage. Three automobiles and two motorcycles inside the garage were destroyed, he said, along with a Jeep SUV that was parked outside on the north side of the garage.

As for speculation that the return of power to the area a short time before might have had something to do with the fire, a spokeswoman for ComEd ruled that out.

“Our records give us an indication that none of our facilities were involved in the fire at that garage,” said Arlana Johnson of ComEd. “Whenever there’s an outage reported it generates a ticket that gives the details of the equipment associated with that.”

Sisic was in the process of completing a remodeling project on his garage. The initial building permit was issued in August 2009, and it had passed its final electrical and framing inspections in 2010. In June, Sisic had the building permit extended in order to finish up exterior siding and trim work and to build a pergola over the patio between his home and the garage.

“Everything in that garage was organized,” said Sisic. “It was not a fire trap. I just [organized things] throughout the summer.”

Damage to the house at 3532 Rosemear Ave. did not appear to be as extensive as the home to the south. However, it too was determined to be uninhabitable, and yellow police tape remained stretched across the fronts of both homes Wednesday afternoon.

Sisic said he is staying with a friend in Brookfield as he awaits news on how long it might be until he can move back home.

“It may be a couple of months,” he said.

Diana Scott said her family for now is staying in a one-room apartment at a neighbor’s home.

“So many friends have been absolutely wonderful,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful outpouring of the community.”

Her main concern is finding a place for the family to stay for the long term. Their home was extensively damaged.

“Thank God nobody got hurt, but the hardest part is being displaced,” Scott said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go.”