Extensive damage from a fire sparked by welding activity could likely have been minimized had homeowners contacted fire fighters for early assistance.

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The garage fire on the 1200 block of 17th in Casper Friday evening started with a spark to a couch.

Fire prevention officer David Lundahl, for Casper Fire-EMS .

"Basically it caught a sheet on fire that was draped over a couch that was stored in the garage.  He pulled the sheet off and put it out and there was some smoldering arm rest apparently on the couch. He put that out too and thought it was out."

Lundahl says unfortunately the couch continued to smoldered.

"Luckily they were still awake and they heard some popping and crackling coming from the garage. When they opened the door the entire garage- he says it looked like flames from floor to ceiling."

Lundahl says they were lucky damage was not more extensive as the attic was very close to burning.  Had they called firefighters in earlier, he says,  professionals have thermal imagers that could have determined if the fire was really out.

Lundahl says the fire department can do that kind of support without cost to residence.

"Even if they think the fire is out it's no cost for us to come and check things out. That's what you pay your taxes for."

The fire was contained to the garage area, but Lundahl says the attic area received intense heat damage.  Two residents, he says, were sent to hospital to check for possible smoke inhalation.