On Sunday, Hesston Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 220 E. Knott in Hesston.
A home had caught fire after a resident placed a cigarette in a plastic coffee container on the front porch being used for cigarette disposal.
“It was an accidental fire. The waste cigarette container was a plastic three-pound coffee can. The cigarette was insulated with other combustible materials and the heat caused the materials to ignite. The fire spread upward and outward and involved the structure,” said Fire Marshal Bob Maier.
Maier said the majority of the damage was done to the exterior of the structure.
“The vinyl siding was melted, some damage was done in the soffit area and got into the attic and did a little electrical wiring damage. They will have to put new siding on part of the front, some siding on the ceiling area of the porch. As far as damage in the house, there was none. There might be a little smoke damage, but no fire,” he said.
Maier said responders were on the scene almost immediately.
“One of the things that was interesting, one of our firefighters was at Casey’s and saw smoke. He went over to take a look and found the property owner was out with a garden hose. The firefighter, who didn’t have gear on him, made sure everyone was out of the house,” said Maier.
Maier said the owner of the structure followed his first instincts when he found the fire.
“The smell of burning plastic woke him up. He went to look out the door, the first thing he did was grab the hose and start spraying. The woman with him called 911,” he said.
Maier said in situations where a fire is slow to start, residents can feel confused.
“People don’t understand how it could happen. It takes a while to take off,” he said.
Conditions on Sunday were prime for a fire to expand and become very dangerous.
“We had a 100-degree day with wind out of the south at 22 miles-per-hour. When we got on-scene, he had the fire about 90-percent out. But this is a guy in shorts and no shoes. We have fire protection. We were very fortunate,” said Maier.