Police investigate report of man with a gun at burning home in west Wichita

Local

This story has been updated with police information that the smoke inhalation victim was not in critical condition as dispatchers previously thought and did not have to go to the hospital immediately.

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Police Department said firefighters arriving at a house fire over the noon hour Monday said they were met by a man armed with a gun.

Police say the initial call to 911 was to check the welfare of someone who had a gun and had set fire to a basement in the 1600 block of N. Lark Street in west Wichita. The neighborhood is just west of Maize Road, between 13th and 21st Streets.

The Wichita Police Department and the Wichita Fire Department respond to a fire in the 1600 block of N. Lark Street, Oct. 25, 2021 (KSN Photo)

Police say when firefighters arrived, they reportedly saw the man with a gun and backed away from the scene to wait for police officers to arrive.

Police say that when they arrived they got conflicting reports about where the man was and that the gun might be a BB gun.

Sgt. J.D. Summerer, WPD, said the first officers to arrive went into the home without a breathing apparatus and secured it so that other firefighters could get in.

Summerer said they found the man outside. When KSN last spoke to the sergeant, he did not know if a gun had been recovered yet.

Fire crews were able to get into the home and put the fire out. The fire was in the basement.

Police say the man they have in custody was a visitor to the home. He has been identified as Michael Mcelhaney according to Sedgwick County Jail records. He was booked on suspicion of aggravated arson and substantial risk to great bodily harm.

Dispatchers initially told KSN the man was in critical condition. Police say he had smoke inhalation but was doing OK and was talking to officers. Two other people who were in the home got out safely.

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