Damage from east-side apartment fire estimated to be $400,000

WICHITA — The fire that destroyed a large building at a northeast Wichita apartment complex Wednesday night caused $400,000 in damage, fire investigators said today.

But Wichita Fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said investigators may never know the cause.

"Due to the level of damage we weren't able to determine an exact cause, but we have no indication that it was an intentionally set fire," he said.

The fire broke out at the Windemere at Tallgrass apartments near 25th and Rock Road about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Bevis said two motorcycles, four golf carts and seven cars and pickups that were parked in the building were destroyed. As many as six other cars that were parked next to the building were damaged.

The damage estimate included $200,000 for the building, and $200,000 for the vehicles and other property lost in the blaze.

Bevis said the fire started in a shop area of the 10,000-square-foot building at 8220 East Oxford Circle.

Shortly before the fire broke out, he said, someone plugged a golf cart into an electrical charger, but there is no way to know for sure that that was the source of the fire.

Bevis said many combustible materials, including some propane bottles, were stored in the shop area of the building.