Archive for Saturday, June 14, 2014

Firefighters battle two-alarm blaze on Kentucky Street

June 14, 2014, 4:23 a.m. Updated June 14, 2014, 11:32 a.m.


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.


Garth Atchison 1 year, 3 months ago

I assume the offending porch couch made a quick getaway.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 3 months ago

I am glad the girls are okay, but now their worry is a place to live as the fire and smoke damage must make the house uninhabitable. I hope they didn't lose too many of their possessions due to fire and water damage. Is there a way to find out if they need help and what kind?

Patti Green 1 year, 3 months ago

This is such a sad story as I grew up and lived in this house for almost 22 years. The neighborhood was full of family homes then and was a great place to grow up. So many wonderful memories were made there with my mom, dad and 8 siblings! My mom moved out in 1984 after my father died. It was then turned into a rental as were many of the houses around it. My heart goes out to the girls who were living there.

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