A Great Bend man died Friday morning in an intense fire that totally engulfed a trailer home in the southeast part of town, Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said.
At 8:13 a.m. Barton County Communications received a call of a structure fire at 1001 4th Street, Napolitano said. Upon arrival the first units found the single-wide mobile home fully involved.
“We were advised by the occupant that got out that there was still someone inside,” the chief said. “The initial attempt to gain entry was hindered due to the amount of fire.”
A 19-year-old occupant said he woke to the sounds of breaking glass and alerted the other occupant of the fire, Napolitano said The 19-year-old escaped through a window and went to a neighbor’s house to call 911.
Once firefighters were able to get inside, they found the body of 41-year-old Lance Stevens in the back bedroom.
Firefighters came to the home at Fourth and Pine streets as clouds of brownish-gray smoke billowed from the structure and flames seeped through the cracks. City and utility company officials were present to shut of gas, electricity and water to the house.
The stench of burning wood and plastic filled the air as firefighters dowsed the hot spots from the outside, ripping the siding off of the exterior. They also climbed in and out, dragging hoses with them.
Nearby residents watched from their yards as the trailer was reduced to a charred husk.
Great Bend Fire Department personnel remained on the scene of a fire in southeast Great Bend through late Friday morning as they battled the blaze, put out hot spots and searched for the victim.
The Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office was summoned to assist the GBFD and Great Bend Police Department as they investigated the fire. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental with the probability of electrical. The trailer was a total loss.
Reports at the scene indicated that this wasn’t the first time the home had burned.