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Fires damage homes in Great Bend
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Great Bend Firefighters enter a duplex at 812 1/2 Hickory St., Monday afternoon. Fire damaged both sides of the duplex. - photo by Photo courtesy of GBFD

A rental house and a duplex were damaged Monday in separate fires, Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said. No on was injured.
The Red Cross is helping the occupants of all three residences, at 1514 Stone St., 812 Hickory and 812 1/2 Hickory St., the fire chief said. None of the occupants had renters insurance, he added. Napolitano suggests everyone who rents should insure their property, but few do.
The fire at 1514 Stone St. was reported at 2:29 a.m. after the Ed McGilber family was awakened and got out of the burning house.
“The daughter heard the smoke detector and got everybody out,” Napolitano said. “That was their saving grace.” Relatives were visiting and there were nine people in the home at the time.
The State Fire Marshal sent an investigator to Great Bend later in the day, and it was determined that the fire started outside, in a trash can next to a wall on the two-story house. The flames went through the wall and spread to the second flood and attic area. There was also heat and smoke damage, bringing the loss to “in excess of $35,000.”
A passerby noticed the smoke at 812 Hickory St. Monday afternoon and called 911 at 1:48 p.m. Capt. Luke McCormick said that fire also started outside, on the porch of 812 1/2 Hickory. “The cause is suspected to be a cigarette,”  he said, adding firefighters believe it was accidental. Occupants of the duplex are Todd Bowers at 812 Hickory and Darrel and Amanda Henry at 812 1/2. No one was home.
That fire spread throughout the structure, from the attic to the crawl space. Napolitano did not have a damage estimate Monday evening, but described the damage as “major.”
The Stone Street home is owned by WHB Rental, and the duplex is owned by Mark and Laura Williams.
Firefighters fielded additional fire calls in recent days.
Sometime on Saturday, there were tree limbs burning at 245 NE 30th Road.
At 11:25 p.m. Sunday, a structure fire was reported at 2320 Adams St., but  no fire was found. “It turned out to be a furnace malfunctioning,” Napolitano said. “It wouldn’t shut off.”
At 2:58 a.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to 282 Liberty Road, southwest of Great Bend. “The occupant was using a heat gun and caught the window trim on fire,” the chief said. The occupant thought the fire had been extinguished, but GBFD was called to check on it.