Fire extensively damages Baldwin City home, displaces family

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Firefighters work the scene of a house fire at 1011 High Street in Baldwin City around noon Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.

Three people were displaced on Friday after a fire started in the chimney of their Baldwin City home and spread through the attic.

Julie Koerner said she called the Baldwin City Fire Department at 11:18 a.m. after discovering smoke billowing from the roof vents of her two-story wood-frame home at 1011 High St.

“It sounded like it was hailing,” she said. “I went outside to see if it was hailing on the roof and saw the smoke coming from the vents.”

Koerner said she was at home with her husband, Todd Koerner, and their daughter Lauren when the fire started. All three safely exited the burning home.

Capt. Tim Silvers, of the Baldwin City Fire Department, said firefighters first arrived on the scene about five minutes after receiving the call. He confirmed that the fire started in the house’s chimney and said it took about 45 minutes to extinguish the flames that had spread through the attic of the home’s eastern wing.

Silvers said the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office would investigate the fire and provide an estimate of the damage. There was extensive damage to the attic, roof and back side of the eastern wing of the house. The western wing, which contains a garage and family bedrooms, was mostly undamaged, he said.

Crews from the Palmyra, Willow Springs and Wakarusa township fire departments, the Wellsville Fire Department and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical assisted with the incident, Silvers said.

Baldwin City Fire Chief Terry Baker tripped and fell shortly after arriving on the scene, Silvers said. Baker remained on scene until the fire was extinguished and then visited a doctor as a precaution, Silvers said. There were no other injuries.

Julie Koerner said her family would be staying with friends for the night.


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