Archive for Tuesday, May 4, 1999


May 4, 1999


— Marlin and Sherry Rein on Monday afternoon lost their rural Lecompton home in a fire.

Investigators from the Douglas County Sheriff's office and Lecompton Fire and Rescue today will try to determine the cause of a Monday fire that destroyed a rural Lecompton home.

Authorities said a driver for United Parcel Service reported the fire at 3:42 p.m. at the home of Marlin and Sherry Rein, 1935 East 850 Road, about two miles southeast of Lecompton.

Marlin Rein, director of budget and governmental affairs at Kansas University, said he was at work when his telephone rang.

"I will never forget that call," he said. "It was one of my neighbors. She said, 'I don't really know how to tell you this. ...'

"My immediate thought was that my dog had been hit by a car. He's always out on the road. But then she said, 'But your house is on fire. The fire department is there now.'"

Rein and his wife, Sherry, watched as firefighters from Lecompton and Kanwaka Township tried in vain to get the fire under control.

There were no injuries, but a cat inside the home was missing and believed to have perished.

Lecompton Fire Chief Leroy Boucher said the home was "fully involved" when firefighters arrived.

"All we can do is keep it from spreading," he said.

The log-cabin-style home was built by the Reins in 1988.

"It burns into them logs and you just can't penetrate it," Boucher said.

Officials were expected to sift through the rubble in search of a cause for the fire this morning.

"We're going to have to wait until morning," Boucher said. "It's just too hot for us to go in there right now."

Boucher said the fire appeared to have started in the northeast corner of the home, which sits atop a hill.

Strong winds on Monday helped fan the flames, causing the home to burn quickly, officials said.

Authorities were able to disconnect a propane tank next to the house and keep it from exploding, Boucher said.

Other than that, the Reins lost everything.

"We realize what's important," Marlin Rein said, holding his wife's hand. "It's still here."

The Reins' dog, George, was outside the home and was not hurt.

The home and contents were valued at $300,000, said sheriff's Lt. Ken McGovern.

"It's not the kind of thing you think about," Marlin Rein said.

He said he and his wife would be staying with friends.

"We just need a little time to adjust."

A total of 17 firefighters were on the scene more than three hours trying to put out the flames.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is

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