WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Saturday’s deadly fire off Murdock Street and Market Street has no more victims, according to the Wichita Fire Department.
After fire search crews found one male victim, there was concern that more people could have been trapped inside the blaze.
After crews performed an extended search well into Monday, the Sedgwick County K-9 team finally helped allow fire crews to give the all-clear signal.
“Our K-9 team actually is fantastic. It’s the largest K-9 team in the region,” said Jonathan Marr, deputy director for Sedgwick County Emergency Management. “Quite frankly, it wouldn’t. Like if we didn’t have a volunteer K-9 search team, we wouldn’t have this capability.”
Marr says the all-volunteer handlers make it happen.
“So we just take them to the location where we want them to work. We give them the command, and they go immediately,” said Wayne Leach, Sedgwick County K-9 team leader. “So the dogs have a desired drive which is a desire for reward, and we pick the right dogs, and we train often.”
The K-9 team is successful in helping fire, police and others in the area in case of disaster. And it’s the volunteer handlers that continue to work the dogs at least eight hours a week that make it happen.
“We can provide live finds. Air scent trailing. Human remains detection. Water search,” said Marr. “And we get called in all over the state and even out of state in some cases to search for lost or missing people.”
The dog teams were rotated in and out of the rubble on the property that burned Saturday night.
“It definitely burned hot. It burned fast,” said Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz, Wichita Fire Department. “So in a search like this with a compromise with the integrity of the structure itself, we have to think about safety.”
The volunteer K-9 unit was able to help with the safety of the fire from Saturday night, according to Ocadiz.
In the end, even though the K-9 search team did not locate any more possible victims, fire crews and county officials say the extended search was important.
“Appreciated the great assistance provided by Sedgwick County Emergency Management with their K-9 team, the cadaver dogs that helped us identify potential spots,” said Battalion Chief Lane Pearman, Wichita Fire Department. “And we are happy to report that we have found no evidence of any additional victims