Early-morning fire in Topeka’s Little Russia neighborhood ruled intentionally set

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:24 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An early-morning fire in the Little Russia neighborhood of North Topeka that caused an estimated $8,000 in damage has been ruled intentionally set, authorities said.

The blaze was reported around 6:12 a.m. at a vacant, boarded-up residence at 541 N.E. Sardou.

Neighbors at the scene told 13 NEWS that flames were coming from the southeast corner of the residence, which they said had been occupied on occasion by people who weren’t authorized to be inside.

Topeka Fire Department crews arrived quickly and began to fight the blaze.

“The first-arriving units reported flames visible from the back of the house and the side,” said Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Chris Herrera. “They pulled a hose, went in and started putting it out.”

Herrera said crews entered the burning house upon their arrival to see if they could locate anyone inside the single-story house.

After checking the residence, Herrera said, firefighters determined no one was inside.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby houses.

Herrera said the house had several “false ceilings,” making it more difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

At least four fire companies responded to the blaze. Smoke could be detected more than a mile to the west.

A Topeka Fire Department investigator was on the scene to determine the cause of the blaze and where it started.

Topeka Fire Department officials said a preliminary investigation indicated the cause of the fire was incendiary in nature, or intentionally set.

All of the estimated $8,000 dollar loss was to the structure.

Three Topeka Fire Department engine companies, two truck companies, a battalion chief, the shift commander and an investigator responded to the blaze.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone with information may call Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007.

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