Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fire destroys home southwest of Lecompton on U.S. Highway 40

A firefighter holds a small cat that ran from a fire in the 200 block of US Highway 40 Thursday Oct. 14, 2010. Several area township fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire in western Douglas County about 11:30 a.m. All of the home's occupants escaped, but the home is believed to be a total loss.

A firefighter holds a small cat that ran from a fire in the 200 block of US Highway 40 Thursday Oct. 14, 2010. Several area township fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire in western Douglas County about 11:30 a.m. All of the home's occupants escaped, but the home is believed to be a total loss.

October 14, 2010, 11:07 a.m. Updated October 14, 2010, 4:18 p.m.

Advertisement

House fire destroys house southwest of Lecompton

Firefighters responded to a fire call off Highway 40 today. Most of the house was damaged by the flames. Enlarge video

Fire claims area home

A fire that broke out at a home southwest of Lecompton Thursday battled with fire crews before taking the building. The Red Cross is helping the family while they are without home. Enlarge video

A Wakarusa Township fire fighter pours water on a home in rural Douglas County Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. Several area township fire departments were on the scene of the fire in the 200 block of US Highway 40 in about 11:30 a.m. The house was a total loss.

A Wakarusa Township fire fighter pours water on a home in rural Douglas County Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. Several area township fire departments were on the scene of the fire in the 200 block of US Highway 40 in about 11:30 a.m. The house was a total loss.

Firefighters spray water on a house fire in the 200 block of Highway 40 southwest of Lecompton on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Firefighters spray water on a house fire in the 200 block of Highway 40 southwest of Lecompton on Thursday, Oct. 14.

200 block of Highway 40

Homeowners Jesse and Debbie Robbs and their 21-year-old son, Jason, spent Thursday afternoon sifting through old family photos — the only items salvaged after a blaze destroyed their rural home.

“I remember the days when mom used to wake us up and make French toast every morning before pre-school,” said Jason.

Fire and emergency crews from the city of Lawrence and Lecompton, Wakarusa and Kanwaka fire departments fought Thursday morning to save the house on U.S. Highway 40 just east of the Shawnee-Douglas county lines. But officials said high winds caused flames to spread quickly, destroying the house that sits on a 5-acre tract southwest of Lecompton.

Investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire but they believe it started in the garage.

Debbie Robbs was home from her job as a Shawnee Heights school district counselor when she smelled the smoke.

“At first, I just thought neighbors were burning fields or something but I went around the house and when I went into the garage I saw flames coming from the refrigerator,” she said.

Robbs called 911 and then her husband, Jesse, who rushed home from his job, where he is a fire prevention inspector.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” said the patriarch. “I’m used to helping others with fire situations.”

The couple raised five children in the home and has a lifetime of memories. Their son Jesse had a twin who died in 2008 and their youngest daughter just gave birth to her second son last Monday.

“The house went up in flames but our memories will always be with us,” said Jesse.

The family said they will likely rebuild on the same site.

They say church members in Topeka and neighbors have already offered support.

Officials with the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross said they will provide hotel, lodging, food and clothing for the family.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the size of the Robbs' tract of land.

Comments

EarthaKitt 3 years, 11 months ago

Terribly sad. I'm glad everyone is OK. I love the face of the fire fighter in that banner photo.

0

Danielle Brunin 3 years, 11 months ago

He looks like he's talking to the kitten, trying to calm it down. Firefighters really are everyday heroes!

0

ou812mr2 3 years, 11 months ago

THE LECOMPTON DEPT. SHOWED UP AS WELL. DONT LEAVE THEM OUT. AFTER ALL IT WAS A LECOMPTON DEPT. MEMBER THAT SAVED THE KITTEN FROM DEATH. GOOD JOB LECOMPTON BOYS!!

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.