Property burns in a fire Saturday afternoon at 120 S. Sherman. No injuries were reported in the fire, which happened around 12:30 p.m., and the dog in the lower right was also uninjured. L&T photo/Robert Pierce
Though Sherman Ave. fire did not involve a house, a trailer home was lost on Western Ave.
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
The Liberal Fire Department was extremely busy this weekend with two substantial fires on the western side of Liberal. No injuries occurred as a result of either fire, according to Fire Chief Kelly Kirk, who added both incidents are still under investigation.
The LFD was first called to 120 South Sherman just after noon on Saturday, Kirk said, for a possible residential fire that ultimately did not involve the home. Kirk said wind gusts reaching 32 to 44 miles per hour had a lot to do with how quickly the fire spread.
“The first one was on Saturday at 12:36 p.m.,” Kirk said. “We received a call for a possible residential fire. When we got there, what we found was a storage shed in the backyard fully involved and it spread to fences, the yards, overhead power lines and the gas meter. It had spread pretty extensively and it was driven by that high wind on Saturday.”
Kirk said although the fire is likely to be ruled as an undetermined cause, it is still under investigation.
“It is undetermined and still under investigation, but it is probably going to be undetermined,” he said. “We can rule out any heat sources like gas, electric – any of the usual heat sources. We can pretty much rule that out because it is a pretty much free-standing shed. They are still going to go back and interview owners and neighbors and things like that to try to find out if anyone had seen anyone in there.”
Sunday night, the LFD was called out again, this time to 115 South Western, Lot No. 21 at a mobile home park for yet another residential fire.
“Last night at 10:39, we were called out for a residential fire,” Kirk said. “It was a vacant trailer house in the mobile home park there on South Western. It was empty, again with no utilities connected to it.”
The mobile home, Kirk said, was determined to be a total loss. Firefighters were on the scene for nearly two-and-a-half hours.
“It was a total loss, it was fully involved when the first police department units arrived after the call was received,” he said. “We fought it defensively, initially. We were able to make entry into the front end to finish putting it out. We were there until 12:57 a.m.”
This fire, he said, is also still under investigation. He added investigators will be doing follow-up interviews today.
“It is under investigation,” he said. “They will have to go back today and do some interviews on that one. There are many possibilities, but this one remains under investigation as well. When we walked in, it was completely empty of any furnishings. And there weren’t any signs of kids playing and messing around. So, they will have to do a lot of interviews on that.”
In a press release from Kirk this morning, he warned of the dangers of fires this time of year and added important safety suggestions to avoid such incidents.
“Let these fires serve as a reminder that the winter months, November through February, are the most dangerous and deadly months for residential fires,” Kirk’s release noted. “The fire department urges citizens to take extra caution and be mindful of their actions to prevent fires of any type. Please exercise care with heating and cooking appliances. Have your heating equipment serviced by professionals and keep up regular maintenance on filters and inspect flue pipes to ensure proper operation.
“Exercise extreme caution with alternative heat sources and space heaters not designed for continuous use to heat an entire residence, and keep them clear of all combustible objects by at least 36 inches,” the release continued. “Use fireplaces responsibly and take necessary precautions in discarding of embers and ash, which can smolder for 48 to 72 hours. Take precautions not to overload electrical outlets with Christmas decorations, equipment or appliances.
“And finally, have working smoke detectors on every floor of your home, preferably near sleeping areas,” Kirk explained. “Change the batteries and test these detectors often to ensure proper operation. Smoke detectors are an easy and reliable way to provide early warning for fast escape in the event a fire should occur in your home. We wish everyone a SAFE and happy holiday season. Citizens with questions or concerns can call the fire department at 626-0128, we will be happy to provide whatever assistance or information that we can.”