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Discarded smoking materials blamed in west Wichita house fire

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at 5:11 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at 10:27 p.m.

Discarded smoking materials sparked a fire Thursday afternoon that caused $45,000 in estimated damage a two-story Wichita home, a Wichita fire investigator said.

Someone passing by the house, 1512 W. Maple, around 3:30 p.m. saw smoke rolling from it and called 911, Battalion Chief Sid Newby said at the scene. Responding fire crews found smoke and flames coming from the rear of the house, located west of downtown. They attacked the fire, which had spread to both floors, from the interior, he said.

The fire began in a utility room, located at the rear of the house near the kitchen, Wichita fire investigator Mark Reibenspies said Thursday evening. It was ruled accidental and sparked after someone “carelessly discarded smoking materials,” he said.

A fire official on the scene initially reported no one was home when the fire started. But Reibenspies said later a man who lives in the house was asleep in a first-floor bedroom at the time.

A dog woke him up, Reibenspies said.

Two house cats died in the blaze, he said. No other injuries were reported.

The fire caused $30,000 in damage to the house and $15,000 to its contents, Reibenspies said.

Maple was closed from Elizabeth to Millwood for a few hours while authorities were on the scene.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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