2 house fires, gas leak keep MFD crews busy Monday

By Mary Shirk
Manhattan Mercury – March 22, 2017


Two house fires and a gas leak kept the Manhattan Fire Department busy on Monday. No injuries were reported, according to MFD deputy chief Ryan Almes.


A porch fire extended into a house in a mobile home community on the east side of Manhattan early Monday morning.


Two people were home at the time of the fire and left before fire crews arrived. Firefighters contained the blaze within 15 minutes and found the owner’s cat safe inside.


The fire caused an estimated $31,500 in damage to the home, contents and a motorcycle parked outside.


Almes said officials determined the cause of the fire to be a discarded cigarette in a plastic container on the deck.


The owner is listed as Gary O’Brate of the same address.


Almes said the best way to dispose of cigarettes is in a metal container filled with sand. Almes said sometimes people throw butts in containers and leaves get in that catch fire.


“It was not the case in this incident, but often times people put out cigarettes in potting soil that contains peat moss and organic material that is flammable,” Almes said.


MFD also responded to a fire at a split-level home near Cico Park on Monday evening.


Five people, a dog and a guinea pig were home at the time of the blaze at 1615 Cedar Crest Drive. The occupants and pets left the home safely before firefighters arrived and contained the blaze within 20 minutes, Almes said.


The fire caused $65,000 in damage to the home and its contents.


Almes said John and Denise Morris own the home. Officials determined cause of the fire was accidental from unattended cooking.


In another call, emergency responders closed McCall Road at Hayes Drive for about 90 minutes after construction workers hit a four-inch gas line Monday afternoon near Burnett Automotive, Almes said. Kansas Gas Service workers dug multiple large trenches to fix the leak. Almes said the situation was helped by the windy conditions which dissipated the natural gas.