A garage fire punctuated by a street fight kept Novato authorities busy early Wednesday.
Novato firefighters made short work of a two-alarm blaze that destroyed the garage, dousing the flames before an adjoining home was burned.
While the firefighters took care of business, a man who lives next door became so furious when he found out his car was damaged that he chased down his neighbor and punched him in the face.
When Engine 61 arrived shortly after 3:15 a.m., the crew found a "fully involved detached garage" with flames licking at the nearby house at 1403 Chase St., according to Novato fire Battalion Chief Gerald McCarthy.
Two residents escaped without injury, but a car in the garage was destroyed, and a vehicle parked outside was scorched. There was no immediate estimate of the value of the loss.
Rupert Coles of 1401 Chase St. said the car parked outside the garage in a shared driveway was his 2001 Honda. He dashed outside to see what all the commotion was about and found the blaze "melted shut" the doors of his car.
"It was the last straw!" Coles declared, saying he has had "all kinds of problems" with his neighbor over the last several years. "I ran down the street and found my neighbor and punched him in the head," Coles said.
Coles spent the morning waiting to talk things over with an insurance agent. His neighbor could not be reached for comment.
Novato police swarmed to the scene but "there were no arrests," Lt. John McCarthy reported. "The neighbors were a little frustrated with this home to begin with because there apparently had been some issues."
Fire crews from Marinwood and San Rafael assisted Novato firefighters.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.