Liberal, KS

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Residential Fire – 1035 & 1041 N. Purdue Ave. in Liberal

Joe Denoyer - October 29, 2021 3:05 pm

At 6:14 pm Thursday the Liberal Fire Department was dispatched to 1035 N. Purdue Avenue for a report of an active fire in the garage of the residence.  While enroute the communications center reported multiple 911 calls on the fire and that callers indicated that the fire had spread to the adjoining residence.  After failed attempts by bystanders and responders to contact potential occupants, forcible entry was made and confirmed that no one was inside either residence.

Upon arrival of the first engine, the fire had engulfed the North side of the residence at 1035 Purdue and had spread through the entire attic space driven by strong winds.  The fire also had control of one bedroom, the entire attic space and the South exterior wall of the residence at 1041 Purdue.  Using tank water from the first engine, firefighters deployed two lines to fight the exterior and attic space fires on both residences.  Simultaneously entry was made into 1041 Purdue to attempt to control and limit the fire spread from the bedroom area.  These efforts proved effective and controlled the wind driven fire which was quickly spreading on the exterior or both residences.  Once a water supply was established the remainder of the fire was extinguished.  The fire was declared under control at 7:07 pm.

Firefighters were also alerted to the presence of multiple family pets in the residences and once fire control was achieved efforts were directed at finding and retrieving the animals.  Two cats were located and safely removed from 1035 Purdue.  Two dogs were located and safely removed from 1041 Purdue, however two other dogs did perish in the fire.

Both residences were rendered uninhabitable due to the fire.  1035 Purdue suffered extensive fire damage to the exterior and attic with smoke and water damage to the entire residence.  1041 Purdue suffered extensive fire damage to the interior, exterior and attic space with smoke, heat and water damage to the entire residence.  The occupants of both homes were gone at the time of the fire.  One firefighter suffered minor injuries while operating on the scene.

Liberal Fire Department investigators conducted their initial investigation of the fire and believe that the it originated in a bedroom at 1041 Purdue.  They believe it burned for a significant amount of time before it vented to the outside through a window.  Driven by the high winds of the day it quickly intensified and spread to the adjoining residence to the South.  At this time the fire is believed to be accidental in nature and caused by an electrical issue.  The investigation will likely be ongoing in cooperation with the insurance providers.  All fire personnel cleared the scene and were returned to service at 10:37 pm.

Liberal Fire responded with a total of 21 personnel, two engines and four support and chief officer vehicles.  Agencies also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County Sheriff’s Office, Seward County EMS, Southern Pioneer Electric, Black Hills Energy & American Red Cross.


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