Three female college students are safe this morning after a good Samaritan passing by their Kentucky Street home alerted the women of a growing fire on their porch early Saturday morning.
Dispatchers received a 911 call around 4:15 a.m. reporting the front porch of the house at 1419 Kentucky St. was ablaze. A second 911 caller reported the entire front of the home was on fire.
Lawrence fire crews arrived to find visible flames on the front of the three-story structure. Interior crews reported the fire spread into a third floor wall and to the attic space.
All residents were able to evacuate the home before emergency crews arrived. Fire-medical officials say no injuries have been reported at this time.
The incident commander requested a second alarm to the scene for additional firefighters and equipment at 4:20 a.m.
An additional aerial apparatus was dispatched to the scene shortly after 5 a.m. as crews backed out of the structure to put water on the fire from the outside only.
Firefighters went back into the structure around 6:30 a.m. to continue hitting hot spots. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical also requested an emergency callback for off-duty personnel to fill several Lawrence fire stations and reserve apparatus.
The blaze blackened the three-story structure from the main level, stretching all the way up to the attic area.
Neighbor Vera Cates woke up around 4:45 a.m. to lights and sirens coming from the residence a few houses down from hers. She and her iguana, Popeye, watched from her window until around 7 a.m. as smoke continued to billow from the home.
Cates, who has lived in the 1400 block of Kentucky Street for more than 16 years, said the neighborhood could have been threatened if the weather were different.
“If the wind were blowing, they would probably have had to evacuate everywhere,” Cates said. “There are trees all around that could have caught fire. Thank God it was calm and a full moon.”
As of 10:20 a.m., Kentucky Street from 16th to 14th streets was blocked off to traffic as fire-medical teams continued to investigate. Cates said her husband and another neighbor had to drive through a back alley to leave their residences on their way to work Saturday morning.
This story was first reported by the Operation 100 news blog, a reporting partner of the Journal-World.