Winds created problems at structure fire

Photo by David Dinell
Photo by David Dinell

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – March 22, 2017


An investigation into a Derby house fire found that it was most likely caused by arcing from extension cords on the exterior of the residence, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bill Pater.


In a report issued three days after the March 10 blaze, which destroyed a home in the 1800 block of North Ridge Road in the Derby Hills area, Pater wrote that investigators found arcing on the wires where two extension cords were connected to power pumps in a nearby goldfish pond.


After the arcing, nearby combustibles – most likely mulch – were ignited, resulting in the fire, Pater said.


The fire, reported at 12:29 a.m., was a costly one.


Initial damage estimates are $150,000 to the structure and $90,000 to its contents.


Also, two vehicles in the driveway sustained damage.


An explosion alerted the occupants – who all escaped unharmed – to the fire.


They found the fire at the base of the exterior wood deck, at its northwest corner.


“Gusty north winds fueled the fire and the occupants advised the fire rapidly spread up the exterior deck and then to the residence,” Pater said. “The homeowner tried multiple fire extinguishers, but was unsuccessful in extinguishing the fire.”


At that time, they called 911 to report the fire and two neighbors also heard the explosions and called 911, too.


The first arriving crew reported heavy fire on the back side and west side of the residence. They searched the house, but conditions deteriorated and they evacuated to tackle the fire from outside.


The strong north wind made it difficult, so department officials called Sedgwick County fire for assistance. Mulvane’s volunteer department also responded.


It took 30 to 45 minutes to bring the fire under control, Pater said.