Sunday afternoon blaze damages home

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Jason E. Silvers/Tribune photos Fire investigators are looking into the cause of a Sunday afternoon blaze at this residence at 116 S. Holbrook St.

The cause of a weekend house fire at a local residence is under investigation, officials said Monday.

A fire that broke out in a house at 116 S. Holbrook St. in Fort Scott about 12:30 p.m. Sunday drew area firefighters to the scene during what has been a busy winter for local fire crews.

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said fire investigators are looking into the fire, which burned through a good portion of the rear of the house.

"It seemed like a majority of the fire was on the west side of the house," he said. "On the west side, it was in a couple of rooms, then it got up into the attic area a little bit. We did lose a power line to it. It was down when crews got there."

Ballou said the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office is helping local fire investigators with the examination.

Ballou said three FSFD trucks and 10 personnel responded to the blaze. Scott Township Fire Department brought in "three or four trucks and about the same number of personnel" following a call for mutual aid, he said.

"There were one or two rooms damaged, and smoke damage," he said. "There's no actual damage estimate yet."

Ballou said the family living in the house was not home at the time of the fire. The name of the family was not available Monday. A dog that was in the house at the time was able to escape to safety, he said.

Firefighters had some trouble navigating in the cold, icy conditions, but no one was seriously injured, Ballou said.

"We had a lot of slips and falls yesterday -- falling in the driveway," he said. "We were trying to get as less damage to the house and property as possible."

Ballou said city public works crews and Fort Scott Police Department officers helped firefighters deal with hazards brought on by the weather conditions.

"The weather conditions really played a factor," he said. "In cold weather, you worry about freezing water when you're spraying it. Public works helped us out a lot with something to melt the ice with. A local retailer helped the PD get some big bags of ice melt. After the fire, inside the house starts freezing over is a concern."

Ballou said following the investigation Monday, the house should be released back to the family and the clean-up would begin.