Thanks to working smoke alarms, residents escaped an “extremely fast-moving” fire that heavily damaged their house early Wednesday morning, Lawrence Douglas-County Fire Medical Chief Mark Bradford said.
About 2:30 a.m., a neighbor called 911 to report the fire at 1209 Lawrence Ave., Bradford said. When crews arrived, the fire — fueled by wind — was already “large,” with flames on the back of the house, in the attic and in the first floor area, he said.
The two adult residents of the house got out safely on their own, along with two dogs and two cats, Bradford said. He said firefighters rescued two more cats from the house, but that one cat was still unaccounted for Wednesday afternoon.
“Their smoke alarms did activate, and that’s what woke them up,” he said.
The fire was accidental, Bradford said, caused by discarded smoking materials that apparently were blown out of an ashtray, or possibly knocked over by an animal, and ignited leaves and other debris on the deck.
Extensive damage to the house, inside and out, was estimated at $85,000, Bradford said.
This story was first reported by Operation 100 News, which provides overnight news coverage for the Journal-World.