By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
A structure fire affected three residences on South Roosevelt in Liberal early Wednesday morning.
Liberal Fire Chief Kelly Kirk said in a press release, around 1:30 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to a mobile home fire at 303 S. Roosevelt Ave. with possibly three occupants inside.
Kirk said police officers first arriving on the scene said a residence at that address was already fully engulfed, and the fire had spread to the residence at 301 S. Roosevelt and was severely threatening the home at 305 S. Roosevelt.
“Police officers quickly evacuated the occupants of both of those residences to safety,” he said. “It was quickly discovered that the three occupants of the original residence had already self-evacuated without injury.”
Kirk said first arriving units concentrated their efforts on exposure protection to limit the damage to neighboring homes.
“As additional hose lines and water supply were established, the fire was darkened down enough to declare it under control at 2:21 a.m.,” he said. “Due to the extensive damage to two of the homes, firefighters remained on scene for an additional two hours conducting overhaul operations to completely extinguish the fire.”
Kirk said firefighting efforts were made more difficult by the freezing temperatures which created slippery conditions on the scene of the incident.
“Also additional measures had to be taken to prevent freezing of hoses and pumps,” he said. “The fire investigation will continue (Wednesday) to try and determine the exact cause and origin. However, it is believed to be accidental in nature at this time.”
Kirk said all three homes were unoccupied at the time of the fire, and a total of seven individuals escaped unharmed.
“Several occupants and firefighters were evaluated at the scene by Seward County EMS personnel as a precaution, but not required further evaluation or treatment,” he said. “The American Red Cross also responded to provide assistance and render aid to all three families.”
Kirk said the Liberal Fire Department responded with a total of 18 personnel and two engines. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, American Red Cross, Liberal Water Department, Southern Pioneer Electric and Black Hills Energy.