Man dies in south Wichita house fire; woman in fair condition

One person died and another was critically injured in a fire Wednesday night at a house in the 2800 block of East Lincoln.

Heavy smoke and flames were reported at around 7:19 p.m. coming from the home on Lincoln west of Hillside, where firetrucks lined the street on Wednesday.

The first firefighters on the scene “were met by one of the occupants,” Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said. “She indicated that ‘he’ was in the basement,” referring to the victim.

A search-and-rescue team was deployed and, operating in “near-zero visibility” because of smoke, found the man pretty quickly, Blackwell said.

“He was in a difficult spot to get to in the basement,” he said.

“They were able to get him out of the basement and into fresh air, but he has died,” he said.

The man is the fourth person to die in a fire so far this year in Wichita, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.

A woman who was able to escape the house on her own was taken to the burn unit of Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in critical condition. A nurse supervisor at St. Francis said Thursday morning that the woman was still in the hospital, but was in fair condition.

Lincoln was closed west of Hillside and east of Grove late Wednesday night.

Two firefighters required treatment while trying to extinguish the blaze, Blackwell said. One firefighter injured his ankle, and the other required treatment due to the heat and physical stress.

Fire investigators don’t know yet where the fire started or what caused it.

Neighbors lined the sidewalk across from the fire scene, watching pensively. Two groups of people west of the house shared tears and hugs as news of the death spread.

The brick house has two bedrooms and was built in 1946.

A Sedgwick County dispatcher said the last unit left the scene at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday.

Contributing: Gabriella Dunn of The Eagle

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger