Harveyville, KS - A fire has left a family without a home.
The fire broke out around 4:30pm Monday at 334 Gertrude Street in Harveyville, southwest of Auburn.
Homeowner Bob Berry says he was cleaning, and had propped up a mattress to clean under a bed. He says he believes a burning candle he'd forgotten about ignited the mattress, and the flames spread. He says he tried to put it out with a wet towel, but it didn't work.
Berry's wife and son weren't home, but the family pets were. Berry says he was able to get his dog out, but he's not sure about several cats. He says he tried unsuccessfully to catch them, then left doors open, hoping they'd find a way out.
Neighbors in the community saw the flames and raced to salvage what they could. Daniel Anderson says everybody started helping pull things out of the garage, even as all they could see were flames and smoke coming out. He and Berry say they knew it was time to back off when a front window blew out, knocking a couple people down. None of them was injured.
The first fire crews arrived quickly, but the flames were already shooting through the roof. Harveyville Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Slade says it took awhile to get additional manpower to the scene so that they could fight the fire efficiently and safely. Crews from Burlingame, Dover and Eskridge all assisted in the effort.
Even with the family's possessions scattered, blackened, on the front lawn, Berry still sees a bright side.
"We got the clothes on our back, but everybody's okay," he said. "My faith will get us through. That stuff is just stuff."
Berry suffered minor burns to his hands. He was treated at the scene.
The fire remains under investigation.