Archive for Friday, July 6, 2007

Fireworks suspected in Eudora blaze

July 6, 2007


Illegal fireworks thought to be cause of Eudora fire

Illegal fireworks could be to blame for staring a fire that burnt down a Eudora home. Enlarge video

A day after her home was damaged by fire, Eudora resident Cheri Powell is counting her blessings.

It could have been much worse, she said.

She could have lost everything. Or worse, she or her neighbors could have been hurt.

The 51-year-old Powell was rescued from her home by a Eudora police officer after a blaze started about 10 p.m. Wednesday, causing an entire city block to be evacuated and setting into motion a chain of events that included a downed power line and an underground natural gas leak.

Eight neighboring agencies responded to the fire that Eudora Fire Department officials suspect was caused by a wayward firecracker.

Powell's home at 620 Locust St. fared much better than her neighbors' home at 618 Locust St., where the fire is thought to have started on the garage roof. Little remains of the residence, where the garage and the back of the home received the most damage.

"Tonight, I'm trying to find a place to stay," Powell said Thursday.

The fire also brought down a power line, and the heat from the blaze caused an underground natural gas leak at Powell's home.

"It's totally livable, except there's no electricity or gas right now," said Belinda Rehmer, a friend of Powell's. "But the rest of the house is OK. The electric wires have melted and there's part of a tree that's been burned."

Eudora Fire Chief Randy Ates estimates the damage to both homes at $125,000, with 618 Locust St. deemed a total loss.

Powell, who has lived on Locust Street for three years, said this is the first year she has ever been concerned about fireworks going off too close to her home.

"She just noticed a lot more firework activity close to the house this year than she had noticed before," Rehmer said.

Ates said considering the time of night and the close proximity of many homes in the neighborhood, fireworks are a likely cause.

Powell's next-door neighbors at 618 Locust St., who declined to be interviewed, were already in bed when smoke alarms alerted them to the fire.

"They were already out when we arrived," Ates said. "It's a true case that smoke alarms save lives."

Eudora does not have a city ordinance against setting off fireworks within its city limits. Ates does not think an ordinance and its penalties could have prevented what happened.

"I don't think an ordinance would solve the problem," Ates said. "Better education of the public. I think that would be the best move."


terrapin2 10 years, 8 months ago

Easy for you to say consumer1........because it wasn't your house that burned down! Regardless of how it started there is a family that doesn't have a place to live and they have lost all that they had. Have a little compassion.

gkwhdw 10 years, 8 months ago

Back in the "olden days" when I was a child, if a fire started somewhere, no matter what the cause, you picked yourself up afterwards and started all over. Why do the city officials assume the responsibility of what we can can't do?Seems like a little bit too much power and tryin to be top dog on all the decisions of the citizens of Lawrence,ks now is in the hands of the commissioners that think they know everything. Not to slam them either, but they push their authority too far at times. The fourth of July isn't that enjoyable as much as it use to be, thanks to everyone that thinks us citizens who pay taxes in our town don't know anything anymore. Responsibility of what you're doing with fireworks and commonsense is a key factor, if you don't act responsibly with your lifee, bad things happen.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 8 months ago

This morning on channel 6 it was said that someone saw kids with bottle-rockets and there was suspicion that a bottle-rocket or bottle-rockets may have been the cause of this fire. It's been known for decades that bottle-rockets are particularly prone to starting roofs on fire. That's why they have been against the law statewide, in Kansas for decades. It is possible and perhaps likely that there is already a ban on what caused this fire.

booze_buds_03 10 years, 8 months ago

Consumer- You are wrong it is not the educated being protected from ourselves. It is the educated being protected from the uneducated filth that surrounds us.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 8 months ago

ok I want to know how you got your name booze_buds_03?

Confrontation 10 years, 8 months ago

Should families lose their homes or lives because some men want to show their "manliness" by blowing things up? Hey, how about taking care of your kids or respecting your wife? That seems more manly to me. Unfortunately, in today's world, men must prove their heterosexualism using a lighter and beer.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

If the kids using bottle rockets, and thus their parents, are identified, then this story could continue...

Why, no, having an ordinance against fireworks in a town won't stop fires or long as the police don't bother to enforce it.

Bobo Fleming 10 years, 8 months ago

I live down the street from the house. It was like a war zone from dark on. I know that some of the sounds I was hearing were not from commercial fireworks. I think there was some homemade stuff going off. In the tree next my house there are the remains of some kind of rocket. Doesnt look like a bottle rocket but something go up there pretty high. Fireworks are fun but I think a lot of out of town folks come here because they know its legal here and some bring some heavy ordinance.

beatrice 10 years, 8 months ago

Amazing that some people think the occassional sacrifice of another person's home (and possibly people's lives and the lives of firefighters) is worth the cheap thrill of blowing stuff up as a means of "celebrating." If I like to drive drunk to celebrate my freedom, shouldn't I be allowed? Just because some mamby pamby fool can't get out of my way, that shouldn't prevent me from celebrating the way I like to, should it? The Fourth isn't anywhere near as much fun since they started cracking down on drunk driving.

But honestly, nothing says freedom quite like being burned out of house and home. That just isn't a form of freedom I want forced on me by the careless and senseless actions of others. Consumer1 and gkw, I hope this never happens to your homes or to your loved ones. If it did, I suspect you would be singing a different tune.

SloMo 10 years, 8 months ago

"Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose."

(-JFK, I think...)

Confrontation 10 years, 8 months ago

People think they can control fireworks. No one is an expert, and shooting things into the sky automatically makes them unsafe. You can't control the wind.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

Lightning is considered an act of God...

I assume bottle rockets are not.

Another one with no sympathy whatsoever for a family that lost everything and now has nowhere to live.

Hope those damn fireworks are worth it when they torch your house.

And for whomever said "a couple of days out of the year" yeah, whatever. It's July 8th now, and people are still setting the damn things off.

kansasteacher1 10 years, 8 months ago

All criticism aside, look at the situation: a detached garage on fire (on a night FILLED with fire hazards) which quickly spread to the residence, an elderly woman with recent hip replacement removed safely from a near-burning building, narrow city streets to navigate in large vehicles, and EIGHT fire departments composed strictly of volunteer firefighters that all came together in a great group effort to keep this fire as controlled as they did! I am very impressed with the manner with which Chief Ates handled this incident. The amount of personnel and equipment on this scene were numerous, but he kept organization and managed to conduct a successful operation in the midst of downed power lines, a gas leak, steady auto and pedestrian traffic that wanted to see what was going on, and a barrage of fireworks that continued to go off all around the scene. This incident is definitely a testament to Chief Ates' abilities for his job.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

A barrage of fireworks that continued to go off all around the scene, even while they were putting out a fire and dealing with a gas leak?

Damn! Those were some especially committed idiots.

gr 10 years, 8 months ago

"Lightning is considered an act of God:

I assume bottle rockets are not."

Are you saying one is fine and the other is not?

"Another one with no sympathy whatsoever for a family that lost everything and now has nowhere to live."

And if it was "an act of God", YOU would have no sympathy?


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