Fire marshal: Furnace malfunction ignited house fire on Whitfield

A 67-year-old house was heavily damaged by fire Friday night near 13th and Woodlawn. Damages were estimated at $300,000. Video by Stan Finger

A substantial fire that heavily damaged a house near 13th and Woodlawn on Friday night was caused by an electrical malfunction in a furnace, a Wichita Fire Department official said Saturday.

The fire at 1011 N. Whitfield caused an estimated $275,000 in damage, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. The fire was reported at about 7 p.m. Crews needed about 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

No one was home at the time of the fire, Crisp said, but two family pets — a dog and a cat — perished in the blaze.

An investigation determined the fire started in a crawl space below the southwest bedroom in the large house built in 1950, Crisp said. A furnace is located there.

The couple who live at the house spotted the smoke coming from the back of the house and called 911. The Red Cross was alerted to offer assistance.