WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One person is dead and three others injured including two firefighters after a house fire Wednesday night. It happened in the 2800 block of E. Lincoln.
Neighbors said they’re keeping the victims in their thoughts and prayers.
“Shock. Despair. I was scared for them because there was so much smoke,” said neighbor, Ida Perez.
Smoke billowed out of the house Wednesday night, leaving neighbors worried for those inside.
“Once we found out that there was a death, it just made my heart sink,” said neighbor, Andrea Moore.
Moore said she was heartbroken as she watched fire crews try their best to save a man in the basement.
“I heard sirens, and I just assumed it was an ambulance, and unfortunately, it was a fire truck and they stopped very rapidly on the road, and I realized the house was on fire,” Moore said.
Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said fire crews arrived around 7:30 p.m. where they faced a challenge once they entered the house.
“There was some excessive storage in the basement which did hinder some of the things we needed to do for search and rescue efforts, but eventually, multiple crews did find a deceased 45-year-old white male,” Crisp said.
During the rescue, two firefighters were hurt. One had smoke inhalation and the other rolled his ankle while assisting with the fire. Firefighters say they safety of victims and their own is their top priority.
“When they say people trapped, and you roll up and you’re told by somebody, a home owner, hey my son, my child whatever is in the house, everything just goes into hyper mode at that point, but we still have to be very cognizant of the dangers,” said Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Stuart Bevis.
For neighbors, they just hope this wont happen again.
“Seeing a house on fire is not a fun thing,” Moore said.
Fire officials say the man who passed away from this house fire had a history of playing with fire, saying the man had mental health issues.
Firefighters say there were smoking materials inside. That included a candle and a lighter. Fire officials say the 45-year-old man was trapped in the basement and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Wednesday night’s fire caused about $50,000 in damage to the house and contents. The fire is still under investigation, but fire officials have ruled out natural gas as the cause for the fire.
Firefighters are not releasing the name of the victim or the cause of death.