Updated: June 17, 2013
The Pawnee Rock Fire Department was assisted by fire departments from Great Bend, Ellinwood and Albert in battling a roaring farmstead fire Friday afternoon southwest of Great Bend, at the intersection of 110th Ave. and SW 20 Rd, about four miles north and a half mile east of Pawnee Rock. Also present were the Barton County Sheriff’s Office and Great Bend Emergency Medical Services.
The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. as a grass fire. Assisting departments were dispatched at 12:37 p.m. and crews remained until late in the afternoon. They brought tankers of water and equipment, and the county also brought a tanker of water to the scene. Local farmers brought equipment to help control the fire from spreading.
According to Pawnee Rock Fire Chief Greg McAlister, the fire was finally put out at 11:30 p.m. Friday night.
In addition to the flames, the first responders fought temperatures in the upper 90s and wind blowing 25 miles per hour or more. The gusts fanned the flames and whipped massive clouds of dirt, pelting those at the scene.
According Deputy Kyle Reed of the Barton County Sheriff’s Department, the owner of the property is Louie Philburn of Dundee. A tenant was just in the process of moving in, and, in fact, there was still furniture sitting in the yard. There was also a child’s swing set.
The two-story house and surrounding out buildings were reduced to a pile of ash and debris by the billowing orange blaze.
No one was in the house at the time of the fire. According to McAlister, the fire was caused from heat from the catalytic converter of the resident’s truck coming in contact with tall dry grass when he arrived at the site to unload belongings. Video footage of the fire is available by clicking here.