Eudora police rescue man from house fire that started with cigarette dropped on mattress; home had no smoke alarms

Quick-acting Eudora police officers pulled an unconscious man from a house fire early Monday morning, likely saving his life, the city’s fire chief said.

The fire was reported just before 1 a.m. in a two-story house at 918 Church St., said Chief Ken Keiter of the City of Eudora Fire Department.

The man had fallen asleep with a cigarette, which caught his mattress on fire — an item that typically produces little flames but smolders slowly, creating heavy smoke and toxic fumes, Keiter said. He said the house had no working smoke alarms.

Eudora police arrived on scene before the city’s volunteer firefighters, and found two adults and a child outside who told them there was still an adult inside trying to put out the fire, Keiter said.

Two officers went into the house and found the man unconscious in a second-story bedroom, Keiter said. They pulled him outside, where he regained consciousness.

If police hadn’t arrived when they did, and gone in, the story could have had a different outcome, Keiter said.

“With a volunteer fire department, it takes us a while to get up, get dressed and get to the scene,” Keiter said.

Keiter said paramedics treated the man at the scene for smoke inhalation but that he wasn’t transported to a hospital.

He said fire damage was limited to the bedroom where the mattress caught fire but that smoke damage extended throughout the second floor.

Keiter said the American Red Cross was assisting the three displaced adults and one child with shelter. Keiter said free smoke alarms are available for Eudora residents who need them, and that his department would make sure the house has some installed before the residents return.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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