"We had understood from some of the neighbors that there was an explosion," Holton Fire Chief Art Stevens said. "And apparently some people had said that they were working in the garage on a vehicle and had an explosion, and the fire erupted from that."
Stevens said a welder left on in the garage started the fire.
Nickels and his family were in the house at the time. They got out safely, but Nickels collapsed by the road.
His stepson, John Talley, went to the hospital for observation. Doctors have released him.
Crews called in help from five other departments because of the heat.