• Last modified 873 days ago (March 19, 2020)


Couple safely escapes house fire

Staff writer

A couple escaped safely from a house fire at 3:01 a.m. Tuesday morning at 240th Rd. near Indigo Rd.

“That was my first question,” on-scene commander Ben Steketee said. “I got on scene and asked the people standing there if everybody was out of the house.”

Residents James and Elaine Delk were out by the time Steketee arrived, but the home’s upper floor was completely engulfed.

“Mainly they were trying to get some of their valuables out of the house,” he said. “It’s not like they were too weak or old. They were working hard to try and save some valuables because they knew there was a big fire. They lived out in the country, and resources were a ways away.”

Deciding what to save in a fire is about weighing the risk against benefit, Steketee said.

“If your son is in there, you’re going to take some risks because the benefit is great,” he said. “If it’s your son’s pet snake maybe not so much.”

A Kansas fire marshal is investigating, but identifying a cause might be difficult since the house is a total loss, Steketee said.

Cause of the fire is unconfirmed as of press time.

According Steketee, “lots of ammunition” was going off inside the home during the fire.

“Ammunition in boxes is like fire crackers,” he said. “It’s not super dangerous, but if there are guns that have ammunition in the chamber, that can fire and that can hurt somebody.”

The family removed any guns as they left the house.

Firefighters struggled to reach the house, complicating efforts to fight the fire.

In addition to having limited light because of the time of day, trucks had to slow down because of muddy road conditions. Firefighters also had issues getting water reserves to the house, Steketee said.

“Pretty soon it became clear to me that there was nothing that there was nothing left to save,” Getting water to the scene was proving difficult and dangerous.”

The blaze required response from 20 firefighters from Hillsboro, Goessel, and Durham fire departments.

Last modified March 19, 2020