An early morning fire Thursday in south Wichita destroyed a house and left the only occupant with burned hands, a fire official said.
Wichita crews responded about 6:45 a.m. to the fire in the 600 block of East 58th Street South, just east of Broadway and west of the Kansas Turnpike.
The two adult residents and a friend visiting the home had left earlier in the morning to run errands, said Capt. Stuart Bevis. A 33-year-old man who was also visiting the home woke up to the smoke, barely escaped and was treated for burned hands, Bevis added.
Someone passing on the turnpike first reported seeing a column of smoke in the distance. But it was difficult for fire officials to get an exact location of the scene because the house was obstructed by trees and other structures, Bevis said.
The lone occupant of the house also walked to a convenience store to report the fire rather than going to a neighbor’s house, Bevis said.
The house had been burning a while when firefighters arrived. Water had to be brought to the rural area to fight the blaze in single-digit temperatures. It took at least an hour to get the fire out, Bevis said.
“It was a big mess,” he said. “It was a hard fight for the crews.”
The fire is thought to have originated around the kitchen, but Bevis said an exact cause can’t be determined because there was so much damage.
Loss was put at $50,000, including $40,000 for the structure, he said. Two cats and two dogs also died in the fire, Bevis said.
The Red Cross is providing assistance for the two residents – a man, 40, and woman, 37.