Firefighters had a quiet ‘Fourth’
Fourth of July fireworks in September may be a one-time event, but Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said postponing poppers had the intended effect. When residents got the green light to light fireworks last Saturday, there was only one fire.
A cardboard box containing fireworks was ablaze in the middle of the street at 3210 16th St. at 10:20 p.m. Saturday. The people who had the fireworks extinguished the fire, but firefighters responded and helped make sure it was out.
There was at least one fireworks-related injury on Saturday. At 6:51 p.m. Great Bend Regional Hospital treated a male who had a firework go off in his hand. The fire department ambulance did not transport the man to the GBRH Emergency Room, but it did take him to the airport later to be flown to a Wichita hospital, Napolitano said.
While it was quiet for firefighters, the Great Bend Police Department fielded a number of noise complaints.
Natural, accidental, and “unknown” — three fires with three causes in the past week.
On Monday morning, lightning caused a fire in an old church building at 1007 Worden St. in Albert. Charles Keller, the Albert fire chief, said the building was not being used and the owner was considering tearing it down. It did not have gas or electricity hooked up.
“We got the call around 9:30,” Keller said. “A neighbor saw smoke and flames.” Although the fire had the potential to spread to houses nearby, he said, “We were lucky that the neighbor saw it early on.” Lightning probably started the fire about 30 minutes before it was reported, he said. Damage was estimated at $1,000 and firefighters were on scene a little over an hour.
Great Bend Fire Department responded to a house fire at 2119 Hubbard St. last week that was accidently caused by a preschooler who wanted a snack.
GBFD Chief Mike Napolitano said that fire was reported at 1:14 a.m. Friday. A young boy had tried to cook ramen noodles in the microwave and the result caught on fire, so he thew it in the trash can, where it ignited. Then the boy woke up his mother, who got everyone out of the house.
“He did the right thing, there,” Napolitano said. A total of five people were in the home and all were checked for smoke inhalation.
“Fire damage was confined to the area of the trash can, but there was considerable damage throughout the house,” the chief said, estimating damage at $5,000. Firefighters were at the scene for about 90 minutes.
A vehicle fire last week brought the state fire marshal to town, but there was too much damage to determine the cause, Napolitano said. That fire was reported around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, next to the river dike in the 100 block of South Washington St. The vehicle was parked on the south side of the dike and a landowner saw and reported the fire. There was no one at the scene when responders arrived.
“The fire marshal and our investigator looked at it,” Napolitano said. Barton County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to locate the owner.
There was also a small fire at 9:51 p.m. Sunday, in a trash can in the alley behind 1918 Jackson St. A bucket of ashes and embers from a chiminea ignited the fire.