Official: Cause of fatal fire on Volutsia still unclear

11/20/2013 9:19 AM

08/06/2014 9:00 AM

Investigators still aren’t sure what caused a fire that killed a 95-year-old man, a Wichita Fire Department official said Monday.

The fire at 844 S. Volutsia, which was reported shortly after 5 a.m. Friday, engulfed the living and dining rooms, Capt. Stuart Bevis said. Charles Adams encountered the fire, then tried to escape through a back door before collapsing.

“There are several things we’re looking into” as potential causes of the fire, Bevis said. “There’s a lot of stuff we have to do.”

Firefighters encountered “significant fire showing from the front of the home” when they arrived, he said. The house was built in 1944, records show, and Bevis said it was “a home with a lot of add-ons.”

Adams’ 58-year-old wife was not at home when the fire broke out. She is a bus driver and left for work shortly before 4:30 a.m., Bevis said. A small dog and cat also died in the fire.

“Unfortunately, we’re unable to determine whether there were any working smoke alarms” in the house, Bevis said.

Adams was aware of the fire before he died, Bevis said.

“He did have some burns consistent with him being near the fire,” he said.

Adams used a cane, Bevis said, “but he could still get around pretty well.”

The fire serves as a reminder of the value of smoke alarms, he said.

“Smoke alarms, if a smoldering fire occurs, give you the chance to get out – and be out before fire breaks out and becomes a significant event,” Bevis said.

Adams is the sixth person to die in a fire this year in Wichita.

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