A fire destroyed a garage attached to a vacant Riverside home regularly broken into by transients who remain until they are chased out, authorities said Wednesday.

The blaze was reported about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 1800 block of Main Street, near Strong Street, on the northeast end of the city, according to the Riverside Fire Department.

Battalion Chief Tony Perna said three engine crews and a truck company, numbering 17 personnel, were sent to the location and encountered flames raging in the garage, threatening the principal residence.

“We engaged in a defensive fire attack and extinguished the fire,” Perna said, adding that it was declared under control shortly before 9 p.m.

According to the battalion chief, a power line had collapsed at the location because of Tuesday’s storm, but that was not found to be the source of the blaze.

He said the owner of the boarded-up home was contacted and arrived as crews were mopping up.

“The homeowner stated he had continual problems with transients trespassing and living inside the garage,” Perna said.

Investigators were examining the remnants of the garage to identify whether a blaze might have been set inside the structure, or if something else caused the fire.

The total cost of the damage was estimated to be $20,000.

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