• Last modified 412 days ago (April 13, 2023)


Siding goes up in flames

Easter barbecue suspected

Staff writer

Vinyl siding burns hot, creates a lot of smoke, and spreads fast, which a woman renting a house at 317 S. Ash St. in Hillsboro learned Sunday when the back of the home caught fire.

Firefighters suspect the fire started from a barbecue grill, but Chris Mercer, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office, will determine a cause.

No one was injured.

Firefighters found a hot spot at the house Monday morning.

“The fire started on the back deck, we think, and started the back of the house on fire,” Hillsboro fire chief Ben Steketee said Monday morning as he, Mercer, and Hillsboro assistant police chief Randy Brazil looked over the damage. “We made an attack on it and got it put out within like 30 seconds.

“It spread up into the attic, so we had other crews going into the front door to do some search and found more fire up in the attic. So we were here for a few hours.

“It looks like maybe it started from a grill, but we’re not sure yet. That’s why Chris is here.”

Vinyl siding is less expensive than other building materials, is durable, and looks good, Steketee said, but fire eats it quickly.

Marion and Durham volunteer firefighters responded.

“We have automatic aid response in Marion County,” he said. “So anytime we have a structure fire, we have three departments responding. So we had Marion and Durham fire come to help us, and they were a huge help. It’s such a great system. I don’t have to think about ‘Do we need help? Who should I call?’ ”

Although it was Easter Sunday, “no one batted an eye” about responding, Steketee said.

Heat from the siding caused a house to the south to begin steaming.

“We also brought a line in that side to protect that structure,” Steketee said of the house next door.

A vacant lot is situated to the north.

Although saving lives is firefighters’ No. 1 priority, “Our other objective is to protect structures. The actual fire was out pretty quickly other than mop-up.”

Steketee released Durham firefighters first.

“Marion helped us a little bit longer,” he said.

County records show Central Investments Group LLC of McPherson owns the home. The American Red Cross responded and helped the woman find a place to stay Sunday night.

Last modified April 13, 2023