Fireworks, heat and lightning were among the causes of unrelated fires Friday and Saturday in Barton County. Structure fires were reported in Great Bend and Olmitz.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said firefighters were dispatched to the area of the river dike and Maple Street at 12:30 a.m. Friday for a grass fire. They found a small patch of grass burning on the south side of the levee.
At 3:34 p.m. Saturday they were dispatched to 5225 Quail Creek for a possible structure fire. “We found smoke showing from a back porch wooden deck area. A neighbor pulled a garden hose and had much of the fire extinguished prior to our arrival. The owner of the house stated he was staining the deck and had laid the rag with the poly stain and finish on a wooden bench located on the deck. Apparently due to the extreme heat (104 F), outside temperature heated up the rag causing a chemical reaction to occur, causing the rag to burst into flames. The burning rag fell down onto the wooden deck, causing the fire.” Damage was approximately $10,000.
At 4:46 p.m. Saturday firefighters responded to Stafford County with the tanker to assist with a wildland fire.
At 11:27 p.m. Saturday they responded to the area of Radium Bridge for a grass fire that was reported to have started by fireworks. They found two small areas burnt and smoldering.
Albert Fire Department was dispatched to a 24-by-36-foot garage at 211 Washington Ave. in Olmitz at 1:26 p.m. Friday. Chief Charles Keller said a passerby saw the fire and called 911. Because of the heat and wind, Keller requested mutual assistance from the Hoisington Fire Department. A 2004 Ford Escape and a 2003 Ford Ranger pickup in the structure were destroyed. Total estimated loss was $60,000. The fire did not damage the house, which was 20-25 feet from the garage.
The Kansas Fire Marshal investigated the Olmitz fire and ruled the cause as “undetermined.”
Ellinwood Fire Department responded to a small fire from fireworks on SE 15 Road, just south of Ellinwood, at 5:53 p.m. Saturday.
Lightning started a tree on fire at 5:57 p.m. Saturday on NE 120 Ave. and NE 120 Road. That fire was extinguished by the Claflin Fire Department.