A new report from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical accuses the occupants of a Lawrence home - destroyed in a July 31 fire - of fireworks violations.
In the report, officials say the house fire at 1005 Ind. likely started when two of the occupants, Adam Renfro and Kevin Brown, threw lit fireworks at Sam Ferando, an occupant of the home who was sleeping on an upholstered couch on the front porch.
The fireworks exploded on the couch, smoldered awhile and eventually caught the couch on fire, fire investigators said. No one was on the couch when it ignited.
The fire caused $360,000 in damage and destroyed the house, which had been converted into apartments. The cause of the fire is listed as unintentional.
Alcohol or drug use may have contributed to the fire, the investigation report said. Fire Chief Mark Bradford said numerous people had been at the house before the fire was reported around 5:15 a.m.
Renfro and Brown were cited by fire officials for two fireworks violations each. Ferando and Sam Buhler, the fourth occupant of the home, were each cited for one fireworks violation.
Under Lawrence city code, it is illegal to possess, manufacture, store, sell, use or handle certain fireworks. The men are set to appear at Nov. 19 arraignment hearings in Lawrence Municipal Court.
The four men, all Kansas University students, were inside the home at the time of the fire and escaped.
Two of the occupants were injured, including Buhler, who jumped out of a second-story window of the house, the report said. Buhler, a KU senior from Lawrence, suffered smoke inhalation and had several cuts, including to his knee and arm. He was transported to KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., with moderately severe injuries, the fire report said. He was not burned.
Brown was treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation and later released. His injuries were listed as minor.
A 26-year-old firefighter, David Bova, also was treated at the LMH for non-life-threatening injuries. A report said he had moderately severe injuries and that he was using hand tools when he was injured at 9 a.m. the day of the fire.
The property owners, Crimson Properties, LLC, are looking to rebuild a similar rental home on the property.