Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that gutted a carport at a northeast Wichita apartment complex tonight, destroying at least a half-dozen vehicles that were parked inside.
The fire broke out at the Windmere at Tallgrass apartments near 25th and Rock Road about 6 p.m.
Wichita Fire Division Chief Brad Boydsaid the blaze was out of control when the first fire crews arrived.
"The building was completely involved with smoke and flames, and it had started to collapse," he said. "It's a total loss."
Boyd said no injuries were reported, and he said a damage estimate was not immediately available. He said seven or eight vehicles were destroyed.
Several residents of the apartments at 8220 East Oxford Circle said they couldn't believe that a carport fire could generate so much heat and smoke.
David Kampling said he heard what sounded like several propane tank explosions before heading outside to see that the sky had filled with black smoke.
"It was crazy," he said. "I've never experienced anything like this before, I'll tell you that. The roar of the fire was very loud. The smoke blocked out the sun."
Amanda Lenz also heard several explosions before looking out her window to see flames coming out of the L-shaped carport. She said she rushed outside to move her car, which had been parked right next to the carport.
"It was blistering my skin; it was very hot," she said. "There were flames already shooting out on the side."
David Lane, who lives next to the carport, said he was visiting a friend when he got several calls from people telling him about the fire. He rushed home to find his prized 1992 Chevrolet Silverado pickup in ashes.
"Classic tires, classic rims, all decked out and everything," he said of the truck. "It was a two-tone. Now it's charcoal.
"It's like a bad dream. Of all the places, it happened right here."