A Friday afternoon fire at 2607 19th St. appeared suspicious at first, but a closer look found “nothing suspicious,” according to Lt. Scott Bieberle at the Great Bend Police Department.
Great Bend Firefighters were dispatched at 12:58 p.m. Friday to a reported structure fire with two explosions, but no explosions have been confirmed.
While police were at the scene, Bieberle said a neighbor also reported possibly seeing someone entering his house in the same block. A criminal trespassing case was taken.
Police obtained a search warrant and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the fire. The KBI’s involvement proved to be unnecessary, Bieberle said.
The cause of the fire was not determined. Damage was in excess of $25,000, according to the fire department.
Justin Smokes was the occupant of the house. While police were investigating, Smokes’s ex-girlfriend told them she had also lived there until the day before. She reported being battered by Smokes at a previous time, Bieberle said. A case was taken but no arrest was made.
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office Media Log shows Smokes was booked into the Barton County Jail Sunday on an Ellis County warrant for probation violation, and was being held with no bond.