Area crews battle fireworks-related fires over Fourth of July holiday

A fireworks-related blaze caused more than $400,000 in damage to an outbuilding and its contents early Sunday in the 3700 block of High Plains Road, about 2 miles north of Manhattan, authorities said.
A fireworks-related blaze caused more than $400,000 in damage to an outbuilding and its contents early Sunday in the 3700 block of High Plains Road, about 2 miles north of Manhattan, authorities said.(Submitted)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 12:22 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fire departments across the Topeka area were kept busy over the Fourth of July holiday putting out fireworks-related blazes, but only a few such incidents were reported in the capital city.

Topeka Fire Marshal Todd Harrison on Monday morning said that aside from a number of dumpster fires that resulted from improper disposal of fireworks, crews responded to only a couple of structure fires that were directly related to fireworks.

A blaze that occurred around 11 p.m. Thursday at 301 S.W. Yorkshire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage.

The homeowner reported he came out of his house and found fire on the side of his garage, reaching to the roof.

Fire crews were able to put out the fire, but not before it did extensive damage to the garage.

The homeowner said an antique Model T Ford was inside the garage.

The Topeka Fire Department says a preliminary investigation indicated the blaze was caused by the improper disposal of fireworks.

No injuries were reported.

Another fireworks-related blaze was reported on the Fourth of July just west of downtown Topeka.

In that incident, crews were sent at 10:03 p.m. Saturday to a vacant residence at 911 S.W. 8th Ave.

Harrison said crews arriving at the residence found a “little glow in the front window.” Firefighters entered the house through the window and extinguished the blaze with less than 10 gallons of water.

The blaze apparently started after youngsters shot a firework into the residence.

A couple of other fireworks-related blazes were reported over the weekend in Riley County.

The first fire was reported around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the 3300 block of Marque Hill Road, on the north edge of Manhattan.

In that blaze, the owner of a 2008 Jeep Liberty was storing fireworks in the vehicle, authorities said. When the inside of the vehicle became hot, the fireworks ignited. The Jeep was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived on scene.

A second fire that KMAN Radio said occurred around 12:40 a.m. Sunday caused more than $400,000 in damage to an outbuilding and its contents in the 3700 block of High Plains Road, authorities said. The location was about 2 miles north of Manhattan.

Officials say a large outbuilding caught fire after fireworks weren’t disposed of properly.

A pickup truck, tractors and utility terrain vehicles that were inside the outbuilding were destroyed, authorities said.

The estimated loss included $250,000 in damage to the outbuilding and more than $150,000 in damage to its contents.

Meanwhile, four people and a pair of dogs were evacuated from a Junction City duplex after a blaze caused by fireworks broke out at an adjoining residence early Sunday, officials said.

The fire, which was reported at 4:22 a.m. Sunday at 908 Whitetail Court on the northeast edge of Junction City, caused an estimated $10,500 in damage, officials said.

The blaze was caused by disposed fireworks inside a plastic trash receptacle, Junction City Fire Department officials said.

First-arriving crews from the Junction City Fire Department found heavy fire in the front of the residence and the garage area, officials said.

Crews performed an exterior attack and were able to knock down the fire. Crews then moved inside to search for any occupants in the residence.

Firefighters also checked the adjoining residence at the duplex at 906 Whitetail Court, requiring them to force entry into the unit, authorities said.

Firefighters and Junction City Police Department officers evacuated two adults, two children and two dogs from the adjoining unit at 906 Whitetail Court, officials said. Crews were told that two cats also were in the unit at 906 Whitetail Court. The occupant found one of the cats under covers in a bedroom. There was no word on the other cat.

The fire didn’t damage the residence at 906 Whitetail Court, officials said.

No injuries were reported in any of the blazes.

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