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Friday, July 11, 2014

Fireworks blamed in house fire that seriously injures Wichita mother, son

By Stan Finger
The Wichita Eagle

Improperly discarded fireworks are being blamed for a house fire early Sunday morning that seriously injured a woman and her young child, a Wichita fire investigator said.

The fire was reported at 3:18 a.m. in the 1200 block of North Glendale, which is southeast of 13th and Oliver, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. It took firefighters less than half an hour to put out the fire.

The blaze appears to have started in a plastic trash can outside next to the house where people dumped the remnants of fireworks that had been set off earlier in the evening, fire Lt. Kelly Zane said. The trash smoldered for several hours before igniting.

The flames then spread to the rest of the house. A 37-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were the only ones at the house at the time of the fire, Zane said.

They were able to escape the house and initially left the scene to go to a nearby hospital. Before getting to the hospital, they returned to the house, however, and agreed to be assessed by emergency responders, he said.

They were then taken to the burn unit at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where they are both in serious condition.

The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damage to the house and its contents, Zane said, and is a total loss. The 61-year-old house has three bedrooms and one bath.

More than a half-dozen windows were broken out of the house, which sits on the northeast corner of 12th and Glendale, across the street from a church. A small hot-pink-and-white tricycle and black-and-red bicycle with training wheels sat in the south yard, not far from a blue plastic kiddie pool and other children’s toys.

A massive elm tree in the southwest corner of the front yard appeared to escape serious damage from the fire, but aluminum siding on the south side of the house to the north warped from the heat of the flames.

Neither the mother nor her son set off any of the fireworks at the house, Zane said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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