Intentionally set fire causes extensive damage to vacant Hi-Crest home

Topeka Fire Department crews battle what officials said was an intentionally set fire Wednesday morning at a house at 810 S.E. 33rd St.
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 9:32 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fire swept through a vacant Hi-Crest house Wednesday morning, sending smoke across a wide area of southeast Topeka.

The blaze, which caused an estimated $43,000 in damage, was ruled incendiary in nature, or intentionally set.

The fire was reported around 8:27 a.m. at a one-story residence at 810 S.E. 33rd St. The location was about a block east of S.E. 33rd and Adams in the Hi-Crest neighborhood of southeast Topeka.

First-arriving crews found heavy flames and smoke coming from inside the residence, said Topeka Fire Department public information officer Alan Stahl.

Crews were able to contain the blaze to the house where it started.

After the fire was extinguished, Stahl said, crews searched the house but found no one inside the residence.

Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Chris Herrera said crews could see smoke as they were responding to the fire.

“We got a report of a possible house fire around 8:30,” Herrera said. “As soon as one of our companies -- Engine 9 -- pulled out of their station, they reported seeing a heavy column of black smoke, so we definitely knew we had a working fire.”

Herrera said no utilities were hooked up at the residence at the time of the blaze.

It wasn’t immediately known if anyone had been staying in the house, Herrera added.

Firefighters used chain saws to vent both the upper portions of the south and north sides of the residence to allow smoke and heat to escape.

A fire investigator was on the scene as of around 9:30 a.m.

All of the estimated $43,000 loss was to the structure, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries.

According to the Shawnee County appraiser’s website, the house is owned by Juanita Patterson. Its 2021 appraised value was $45,240.

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

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