‘They just didn’t get there in time’: Cowley County woman loses family barn in fire

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COWLEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Extremely dry conditions and high wind fueled the flames in Cowley County Wednesday afternoon. Those flames lead to one family losing a piece of their family’s history.

“My son was in it trying to fight the fire with five-gallon buckets of water, and they just didn’t get here in time,” said Lisa Swanson.

The Cowley County resident could do nothing but standby and watch a fire destroy her family’s barn just a year after one of her other barns was leveled by a windstorm.

“Two big straw barns that my father-in-law built. He passed away a couple of years ago. So, they were kind of special to me, and now, it’s at this barn, the last one,” said Swanson.

More than a dozen fire and rescue agencies spent hours fighting the large grass fire East of Ark City. The fire started around 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. The Cowley County Emergency Management says the cause of the fire is still unknown.

“This is kind of a sparsely populated area where the fire is right now mostly grassland, very few crops,” said Bruce Endorf, a nearby resident.

At one point, Cowley County Emergency Management warned nearby homeowners to be ready and prepare to evacuate, just in case. Some people tell me the fire didn’t come as a surprise.

“It’s windy like this, and you know it’s going to happen sooner or later you just hope it doesn’t happen around you,” said Endorf.

Fire crews were still at the scene at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, but the fire was under control. CCEM tell KSN the number of acres burned is still not known.

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