Child playing with lighter blamed for Wabash Ave. fire
Officials say live ammunition and welding supplies could be heard exploding during the firefight
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka Fire officials say live ammunition and welding gas kept firefighters on edge as they battled a large structure fire in the Oakland Neighborhood early Monday afternoon.
Topeka Fire Marshal Alan Stahl says crews were called to 1032 NE Wabash at 12:12 p.m. Monday on reports of a camper on fire.
The large plume of dark gray smoke could be seen for several miles, as seen by a photo captured on the WIBW tower camera on Menniger Hill.
Stahl says when crews arrived they found a detached garage heavily involved in smoke and flames. The blaze also damaged several nearby vehicles, the adjacent home and the recreational vehicle where the blaze is believed to have began. Stahl clarified that the garage was actually two buildings built side-by-side.
Stahl said crews did not enter the structure due to the roof beginning to collapse and potentially dangerous contents inside. The sound of snapping and pops heard as the garage was burning was live ammunition, the larger “booms” were gas used for welding, according to Stahl.
A preliminary investigation revealed the cause was accidental, likely due to a child playing with a lighter inside the camper.
Damage was estimated to be $195,000. $150,000 to the detached garages and contents, $30,000 for the camper, and $15,000 to the adjacent home.
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