Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barking dogs alert man to fire in home north of Lawrence; no injuries reported

September 29, 2011, 4:02 a.m. Updated September 29, 2011, 4:48 p.m.


North Lawrence fire

Peggy Mersmann-Laptad talks about the fire that destroyed her home, early Thursday morning, in North Lawrence, 1439 N. 1900 Enlarge video

Thursday Morning Fire

Crews respond to a fully-involved fire at 1439 North 1900 Road. Enlarge video

A rural Lawrence man escaped an early-morning fire Thursday that destroyed a house north of Lawrence.

“I’m OK. My dogs are OK. My boyfriend is OK. The important part is the lives,” said Peggy Mersmann-Laptad, who came home and found fire had destroyed her house. “Yeah, I’ll probably cry about the stuff (later).”

Mersmann-Laptad’s boyfriend, Julian Dahl, escaped the home and was not injured.

Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical and other township fire departments responded about 3:45 a.m. to the fire at 1439 N. 1900 Road, just west of U.S. Highway 24-59.

Division Chief Eve Tolefree said the man escaped without injury, and crews began a defensive attack from the outside because of the advanced stage of the flames. A brick chimney and a few burned walls were the only things standing Thursday morning.

Tom Tweddell of Lawrence stood outside the charred remains of his stepdaughter’s home at 9 a.m. Mersmann-Laptad was at work when the fire started.

Mersmann-Laptad said Dahl was alerted after the couple’s four Malamute dogs began barking on the porch. The dogs were not harmed, she said.

“If (the dogs) had been inside the house, they’d all be gone,” she said.

For more than six years, Mersmann-Laptad has lived at the house, which was built in the 1950s. Her grandparents had lived there, and her great-grandfather had also owned the land in Grant Township. The family said the current house was built after an older house burned. Tweddell said a nearby barn built in the 1800s was not damaged in Thursday’s fire.

As she viewed the damage Thursday morning, Mersmann-Laptad said discouragingly she was close to purchasing insurance on the home.

“Just now things were falling into place where I might have been able to afford it,” she said. “But it was two paychecks away, and well, what do you do?”

According to Douglas County records, the residential property was appraised at $111,160.

Fire and Douglas County Sheriff’s investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the fire Thursday. Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the fire caused an estimated $130,000 in damage to the house and its contents.

Other firefighters who responded included volunteers from Kanwaka, Lecompton, Clinton, Eudora and Wakarusa townships. Jane Blocher, executive director of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, said the chapter would be providing hotel lodging and other assistance to the couple.


To Sides 6 years, 8 months ago

I guess the KC stations reporting a man and a woman living there were wrong. They even said the man was alerted to fire by dog barking.

Mike Frizzell 6 years, 8 months ago

The house was evacuated prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

blindrabbit 6 years, 8 months ago

Is this the house on the former Laptad Stock Farm property?

misseve 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes this is the Laptad house, she was at work. She is fine, he got out fine. I am her friend and she wants me to let the family to know that they are ok.

radicool12 6 years, 8 months ago

i no the family real good i no i heard they all got out but what i am wondering is did the dogs get out too

Faerone 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes the dogs got out too. The three cats are still missing but all the other animals survived. We are hoping the cats got out and are just too scared or frightened to show themselves. It is our prayer that they are alive and well.

radicool12 6 years, 8 months ago

dont correct me i hate people who do that crap

MYOB 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 8 months ago

Then ewe are goeing too hey did a round hear.

openyourmind 6 years, 8 months ago

oh, please. it was communicated properly. you get the jist. step down from the high horse, and understand that we all absorb different information into our brains. i'm sure there is something radicool is an expert at that you know nothing about. learn from one another; no need to bully.

openyourmind 6 years, 8 months ago

radicool12 cares about the welfare of the animals and his friends who have lost their house. the rest of you care about grammar. who has their priorities straight?

MYOB 6 years, 8 months ago

He/she "hates" people that correct him/her. Nice priority.

radicool12 6 years, 8 months ago

my mom is helen plese have peggy call helen

Randall Barnes 6 years, 8 months ago

OHHH PLEASE This is a story about a fire not a grammar lesson and besides who's grammar we use is none of your business so chill.sorry for your loss.

somedude20 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, you can haz a hot dog!! I don't no the family and am happy they are well but I think I no who missed a lot of school.

Just say NO!

Phone_Man 6 years, 8 months ago

Can I axe a question? Why do we care as long as the point was heard?

MarcoPogo 6 years, 8 months ago

Eye herd the point toe tally! There our menny hay terse on this bored!

pace 6 years, 8 months ago

I am sorry you did not have a mother who raised you to be polite. There is no excuse to be rude. If you wish to offer a correction on grammar , there is private message. It is an oafish behavior and pretty creepy.

somebodynew 6 years, 8 months ago

First, glad everyone is OK and I feel sorry for all they have lost.

But, where have all these anti-grammar police people been??? I have been reading on here for quite some time and everything turns into a grammar lesson - particularly when someone like Radi doesn't use the regular language. No one ever says much - didn't know so many were around.

blindrabbit 6 years, 8 months ago

Glad all safe; attended several parties in the big barn on the property; is it still used as such. There was another barn just west a mile or so that was also the site of many parties; think Shirk's owned that one!

George_Braziller 6 years, 8 months ago

I heard the sirens this morning and knew there had to be something major going on. It sounded like every emergency vehicle and police car in the county responded.

meggers 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad they're all okay, but that's sad about the insurance. It sounds like she owns the land, so hopefully, they'll at least be able to rebuild. I wonder if Habitat for Humanity would be able to help out in a situation like this.

otto 6 years, 8 months ago

The city is contracted to provide fire protection in Grant Township - I bet it pains the City fire dept brass that the townships(volunteers) had to bring them water.

wysiwyg69 6 years, 8 months ago

She has lived in the house for more than six years. Are all of those years without insurance? The house must be paid off because a bank loan would require homeowners insurance. Insurance looks pretty cheap now I suspect. Every case is different but situations where people have no insurance makes it hard for me to feel sorry for them.

smalismith 6 years, 8 months ago

She actually did have insurance on the house... it lapsed last month and she was attempting to save up for it again.

wysiwyg69 6 years, 8 months ago

She has lived in the house for more than six years. Are all of those years without insurance? The house must be paid off because a bank loan would require homeowners insurance. Insurance looks pretty cheap now I suspect. Every case is different but situations where people have no insurance makes it hard for me to feel sorry for them.

Faerone 6 years, 7 months ago

Situations where people have no compassion for someone who has lost everything they have worked for their whole lives because of a faulty window air conditioner makes me pity them. I pity your inability to have empathy and compassion for your fellow man. May God not judge you in the same way you have judged others.I will pray for you.

Faerone 6 years, 7 months ago

Look times are tough for everyone I have been friends with Peggy And Her boyfriend since High school and know them very well. They are Devastated by the fire and suffering from PTSD, They are very responsible people , They had insurance and it lapsed because of lack of funds,which happens to alot of us at one time or another, and when you insure a house you are insuring the whole property , The larger the property the higher the insurance premium. I think it is sick that people would take a tragedy such as this and turn it into a verbal sparring match just because of spelling errors. All my prayers and hopes are with my friends and I will be helping them in any way I can. When anyone else has needed help in the past they have been there for them including my family. It seems easy to just say rebuild . even if they did have Insurance imagine losing everything you own in one fail swoop memories and photo albums things your grandparents made with their own hands as her grandfather was an incredible woodworker things left to you by your parents who have passed on. YOU CANT EVEN IMAGINE THE HEARTBREAK! We are talking about the memories of lifetimes here, not things you can pick up at any store. So all of you, think about everything in your homes and lives and realize what is truly replaceable and you will find you are emotionally attached to more than you think. She was simply relieved that in all the tragedy there was very little loss of life while mourning the loss of everything she knew.

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