Archive for Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Fire destroys rural home

December 24, 2002

A fire two days before Christmas destroyed a rural Tonganoxie home.

For nearly five hours, about 50 firefighters from six fire departments battled the blaze Monday morning west of Leavenworth County Road 25 on Honey Creek Road. The firefighters, most of them volunteers, worked in sub-freezing temperatures as they hauled gallons of water from hydrants throughout the area to douse the flames.

¢ A fund has been established to aid the Newberrys.

¢ The Jerry Newberry Fire Fund has been set up at First State Bank and Trust in Tonganoxie.

¢ Family members lost most of their clothes and other belongings, as well as their home and household furnishings.

The home, at 20780 Honeycreek, was a total loss. The fire, reported about 7:30 a.m., apparently started in a basement chimney, homeowner Jerry Newberry told sheriff's officers. None of the seven people home at the time was injured.

"They did get some of the Christmas presents out," said Frances McCracken, Kansas City, Kan., a relative of homeowners, Janice and Jerry Newberry.

The Newberrys, along with their son, daughter-in-law, daughter and three grandchildren, lived in the home, she said.

Chuck Magaha, Leavenworth County emergency management director, said the blaze took longer than normal to bring under control.

"It's a very stubborn fire," he said, explaining that two layers of siding over the log frame posed problems for firefighters.

In addition, wood paneling and ceilings on the interior of the main floor fueled the flames. Firefighters had to rip the exterior siding away from the logs to reach the fire.

"All that tongue and groove roof is burning and the logs are burning," said Magaha, who also is a volunteer firefighter for Fairmount Township Fire Department.

Firefighters from Sherman Township, Reno Township, Stranger Township, Fairmount Township, Tonganoxie city and Tonganoxie Township responded to the fire. Firefighters from Delaware and Reno townships also were on standby during the fire.

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