Building ‘total loss’ after 2-alarm fire

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita firefighters battled flames reaching 30 feet at a two-alarm building early Wednesday morning. The fire caused around $300,000 in damage.

Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow also responded to the scene at a strip mall at Central and Mathewson at 2 a.m. She said upon arrival, first crews found two collapsed walls on the south and west sides of the building. After checking out the scene, they called in more units.

“After about seven minutes into it, we made a second alarm, which brings us an additional four engines, two more trucks, and a chief officer,” said Chief Snow.

Large flames from the roof required ladder trucks to get water on top of the building. The fire was focused on a motorcycle shop in the strip mall. She said the rest of the building was largely unaffected by the fire.

“As soon as they got it knocked down, we sent crews on the inside to ensure that it hadn’t traveled the length of the strip mall,” Snow said.

There was a brief threat to fire crews because of lines down in the area.

Wichita Fire crews fight a 2-alarm building fire near Cleveland and Central.

“We had power lines down in the back in the area that had collapsed so we had to get that mitigated,” Snow said. “As soon as we got that mitigated, that alleviated the most significant danger.”

No one was found inside, and no firefighters were hurt during the response. They didn’t go inside the building because the collapse threatened the integrity of the structure.

“We haven’t been able to get into it because of the collapse,” Snow said. “We’ve got the investigators right now on scene, and it’s under investigation as far as the cause.”

Snow said the shop is a total loss, but the rest of the strip mall should be able to return to business after being evaluated by an engineer.

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