Large Grass Fire In Lawrence Evacuates Homes, Threatens School

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) A long string of heat without rain is beginning to cause havoc in various communities throughout the state.

One west Lawrence community was caught in the middle of a near disaster before fire crews responded to the scene this morning.

The Palisades community in Lawrence went through quite a scare this morning as a grass fire immediately turned into what fire officials called a full structural response, that also threatened the Langston Hughes Elementary School.

Division Fire Chief of Douglas County, Eve Tolefree responded to the scene with fire crews. "Due to winds and dry weather the fire began to spread to the Palisades district and elementary school," said Chief Tolefree.
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Residents saw flames as tall as there homes spreading extremely fast and putting them into a frantic situation.

Resident Michelle Hack said "It was very close to our house and we weren't expecting this we saw the flames and they were tall and red and very scary. I was looking up at them from the second story."

Fire crews respnded with an unparalledlled quickness and made an on the spot decision to evacuate homes.

Chief Tolefree said, "It was made quickly as wind picked up and the flames were coming in. Fortunately not alot of homeowners were home but five families were evacuated."

It took seven separate departments to hold the fire before it could damage any of the homes in the Palisades community or the elementary school.

Homeowner Andy Pitts was thouroughly impressed by the response teams work ethic saying, "The way they were able to respond it was incredible. It was extremely hot and they worked tirelessly to take care of this and its not something they see regularly. Having a grass fire in the middle of the city."
newsroommany of the homeowners that were not home were notified of the fire danger that was put out before any structural damage was done...

Fire officials say the cause of the fire is being classified as natural due to the wildlife contact with overhead powerlines.


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