Firefighter’s home destroyed in northcentral Kansas fire

Andy Phelps' home was destroyed in the wildfire that started south of Wilson Lake on Monday. (KSN Photo)

WILSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Emergency crews have been working since Monday night fighting fires and monitoring hotspots in Ellsworth County. However, Monday night’s fire was no match for a house in Minooka Park, located south of Wilson Lake.

Andy Phelps knows the dangers all too well, and is now a victim to the flames.

A retired Dorrance firefighter, he said he preached the dangers of dry conditions and strong winds. Andy is now an active volunteer fireman.

“It was going to be one nasty fire,” he said. “And this is what happened, it finally arrived.”

Phelps’s mobile home was in the middle of the fire’s path.

He was driving when he heard the fire reached Minooka park, and he thought to himself, “What can I save?”

He asked fire crews to save his dogs. Unfortunately, only one could be saved.

Phelps’s horses were also in danger, but most of them were taken to the vet and one had to be put down.

As for his mobile home, it was no match for the flames.

“By the time I arrived here, my trailer was fully engulfed,” Phelps said.

The fire left him with almost nothing.

“You want to go and grab a pair of jeans or something that you had,” he said. “But it’s gone. So you just have to go on.”

Last night, Phelps slept on the floor, in a limestone house he’s been renovating.

But today, he was offered a place to stay — and that gives him hope when he’s lost so much.

Phelps said: “Don’t let it get you down and just stay positive.”


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