WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Fire Department said a house fire early Friday morning was so intense crews could not get in to search for victims. A demolition crew tore down the roof and walls so the fire department could safely search.
The fire was discovered around 12:40 a.m. in the 100 block of S. Volutisa, a few blocks from Hillside and Douglas.
The first fire crews to arrive found a lot of flames coming from the home.
“The back half of the house had basically already burned off, and it was pushing through all the front,” Nicholas Woods, WFD acting battalion chief, said. “It was a situation where there was so much fire involvement when we arrived that it was just not obtainable for us to really actually try to go inside and search the structure for victims.”
He said transient people have been known to stay in the home, possibly with permission from the owner. A woman also showed up and was worried her mother might be in the burning home, but that turned out not to be the case.
Two nearby homes were in danger of burning, so firefighters had to focus on all three properties. The burning home is a total loss. The other two buildings have some exterior damage.
The focus turned to seeing if anyone was in the burned home. The WFD contacted the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department and a demolition company.
“We’re going to basically pull the roof off this front … and maybe tear down some of the walls to allow our people to get in there safe enough without anything coming down on them to get this front half of the house searched,” Woods said. “Additionally, we’re going to pump out the cellar below ’cause it’s full of water and get a search in there as well and then after that, we should be good.”
At 4 p.m. Friday, WFD said they finished searching the rubble and did not find any bodies.
Investigators will now focus on what started the fire. They know that the home did not have any utilities hooked up.