EMPORIA (KSNT) – An Emporia fire that gutted a three-story apartment complex is being investigated as arson, according to Fire Chief Jack Taylor.
Two firefighters were injured Sunday morning in that fire. One firefighter was seriously injured and is currently at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka receiving care.
Tharon Mott of the North Lyon County Fire District 2 was injured Sunday when he fell from a ladder.
A fund has been set up to raise money for the injured firefighter. The GoFundMe page says Mott is “expected to make a full recovery” but will miss at least eight weeks of work. $2,185 has been raised of a $5,000 goal towards Mott’s “emergency expense fund.”
The name of the second firefighter that was injured is not being released.
According to a written release Emporia Fire Marshal, Reason Bradford, has assembled a team of investigators from the Emporia Fire Department, Emporia Police Department, Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Fire Marshal from Newton, Kansas to determine the origin and cause of the fire.
Firefighters were called to the vacant apartment building at 1325 Merchant Street Sunday morning at 4:19 a.m. The building was being renovated and was unoccupied.
Thirty firefighters were on scene to fight the blaze. Emporia City Manager Trey Cocking told KSNT the loss should exceed $500,000.
Fire departments from Admire/Allen, Miller, Olpe and Harford/Neosho Rapids all provided resources to fight this fire according to Taylor.
As part of the investigation, authorities are requesting anyone with video, still photographs, or any other information relating to this incident to call the Emporia Fire Department, (620) 343-4230, the Emporia Police Department at (620) 343-4200, or Crime Stoppers at (620) 342-2273.