Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Late-night fire destroys rural home

Firefighters: Probe continues into cause of blaze on Douglas Road

June 2, 2004

The cause of a weekend fire about five miles south of Tonganoxie remains under investigation.

The blaze was reported about 1:30 a.m. at 20090 Douglas Road at the home of Terry Willburn, according to officials.

No one was home at the time of the fire, said Bert Dunham, Stranger Township Fire Department assistant chief.

Dispatchers told firefighters the home was fully engulfed by fire.

"There wasn't much to save," Dunham said.

Firefighters from Stranger, Sherman and Fairmount townships, along with the city of Tonganoxie, responded to the fire.

The state fire marshal is assisting in the investigation into the blaze, Dunham said.

The two-story home was a complete loss, even though firefighters poured about 55,000 gallons of water on the property.

"It was a surround and drown thing," Dunham said. "There were other outbuildings."

Firefighters also were concerned about a nearby propane tank, but they were able to keep it cool enough that it didn't pose a hazard.

Once the fire was brought under control, firefighters discovered someone had stolen equipment from a hydrant at Leavenworth County Road 25 and Hemphill Road.

Dunham said a fire hose, hydrant valve and hydrant wrench were stolen from the hydrant. The equipment, owned by Stranger Township Fire Department, was valued at about $500, he said.

Firefighters hook the valves up to hydrants so they can have a quick flow of water each time they return to hydrants to fill up their trucks as they battle fires.

"He went back to fill for the last time and go back to the station, and it was gone," Dunham said.

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