TOPEKA (KSNT) – Firefighters in Topeka dealt with a large fire in the 1100 block of NE Wabash Monday afternoon.
Shawnee County Dispatch was encouraging drivers to stay away from the area while the department got the fire under control. Several structures were damaged, according to Allen Stahl, Public Education Officer with the Topeka Fire Department.
Firefighters have spoken to the owners, according to Stahl, and learned that the detached garage contained welding supplies that were venting gas during the fire. A reporter for KSNT who was on the scene said he heard several explosions which have since been identified as small arms ammunition that was “cooking off” in the detached garage. Stahl said firefighters did not try to enter any of the structures, for safety reasons.
“We do have a pretty significant fire, it has caused quite a bit of destruction, its damaged several adjoining houses, an RV, the house next to it,” Stahl said.
A report from the TFD said that all occupants of the nearby homes escaped unharmed. An investigation into the cause of the fire revealed that a child playing with a lighter next to the camper likely caused the fire.
Initial estimates show the total loss to be around $195,000: $50,000 to the detached garages; $100,000 contents loss; $30,000 to the 5th wheel camper; and $15,000 to an adjacent house.