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Two dead in house fire near Pawnee and Hillside

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, at 10:23 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, at 2:33 p.m.

Two men died Friday after Wichita firefighters responded to a blaze in a home near Pawnee and Hillside.

The first victim died at the house at 2512 S. Twin Oaks, and the second man died at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, Fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said.

The fire was reported at 9:40 a.m. Firefighters were told there were cats inside, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said, but they weren’t aware there were people in the house until after they arrived.

Firefighters found one man in the living room and the other in a bedroom, Fire Department Chief Ron Blackwell said. Both men were given resuscitation efforts at the scene after suffering from smoke inhalation. The second man was taken to St. Francis with burns on 80 percent of his body, police said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $30,000 in damage, Bevis said.

The fire caused significant structural damage with smoke throughout the house, Blackwell said.

Wichita fire investigations Lt. Troy Thissen confirmed that a person had been seen leaving the house sometime before the fire started. That person — a family member — “had come by to help out one of the victims,” he said.

Homicide detectives were on the scene following the fire, but Wichita police said as of Friday evening foul play was not suspected in the men’s deaths.

The victims have not yet been identified, Thissen said. The 911 call originated from the house, he said.

The odor of smoke permeated the neighborhood in the hours after the fire.

Marvin Becow watched fire crews pack up gear and police conduct interviews on the street where he had lived for 15 years before moving recently. He lived next door to the man who lived at 2512, he said.

“I spoke to him once in the number of years I’ve lived here,” Becow said.

The two deaths doubles the number of fire fatalities in Wichita for 2012.

Contributing: Rick Plumlee and Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle.

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