Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2004

Township, city firefighters battle Eudora blazes

June 17, 2004

Local firefighters battled two blazes in Eudora last week, but the homes' occupants were unscathed.
"We're grateful all occupants were OK," said Eudora Fire Chief Spencer McCabe. "Even in both fires there were some salvagable goods, although we wish we could have been able to give them everything back."
Firefighters were called to a house in the 1300 block of Cedar Street early Friday morning, and Sunday evening they responded to a trailer fire in the Grandview Mobile Home Court.
McCabe estimated $65,000 worth of damage to the home on Cedar Street, where an electrical appliance's malfunction in the living room was thought to have sparked the blaze at about 3:30 a.m. Friday. McCabe said occupants were in the driveway when the fire blaze started and didn't realize the home was burning until fire reached an exterior wall. The occupants had an attic fan running, which stoked the blaze.
McCabe said the homeowner tried to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived.
"It was a pretty intense fire," said McCabe, who added firefighters had the blaze under control in about a half hour.
Some personal items in the basement were undamaged, he said.
"The majority of the first floor was consumed with smoke and heat," McCabe said.
A Eudora firefighter was treated and released by paramedics on the scene after he fell through a hole in the floor.
"There were a couple of moments we were pretty scared that something terrible had happened to one of our people," McCabe said.
Rapid action teams in place made sure the firefighter was pulled from the hole quickly, he said. McCabe said the department had a good turnout of volunteers and that the department worked the fire on its own.
"I can't be more proud than I was that morning," he said. "They hustled and did everything to the best of their training in a short period of time."
Eudora firefighters received mutual assistance from Eudora and Wakarusa townships fire departments on the trailer fire Sunday evening.
"I was proud of all the departments who participated -- Eudora Township and Wakarusa Township," McCabe said.
Firefighters were called to the home about 7:20 p.m. Sunday. McCabe estimated crews had the blaze under control in about 40 minutes, although because of intense heat crews had to back out for a while.
"That's always a tough call to make," he said. "We don't want to jeopardize the safety of our firefighters any more than we have to."
All of the occupants had left the mobile home safely. The chief said the blaze appeared to have started from someone smoking in bed.
Although McCabe said some personal items were salvageable, fire damage totaled the structure.
"Trailers aren't designed to be on fire and extinguished and then everything's OK," McCabe said. "When one trailer catches on fire so fast you usually run the risk of exposing other trailers and catching fire."
Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical sent a truck to the site for firefighters to replenish air tanks. At the Eudora City Council meeting Monday night, McCabe talked to the Council about getting bids for an air filling station for Eudora. McCabe said because the department had to fill its breathing tanks in Lawrence -- or with the mobile unit at the scene when available -- crews often waited until many tanks were empty to make the trip worthwhile.
Having a filling station in Eudora would also improve Eudora's ISO rating, he said.

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