Crews respond to Butler County and Sedgwick fires

Fifty cars were damaged in Thursday’s fire in Sedgwick. (Photo courtesy KSN News)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Crews worked two large fires in the area Thursday afternoon

One was in the town of Sedgwick at a salvage yard in the 300 block of North Washington. The salvage yard is located right next to emergency service building.

Chief Scott Metzler with the Newton Fire/EMS Department said they got a call of a grass fire that was putting some nearby buildings in danger around 1:30 p.m.

Metzler said when they arrived, the fire engulfed a nearby salvage yard, catching all 50 cars that were there on fire. He said it was an all hands on deck effort with 15 crews from around the area working to get the fire under control.

“Obviously the wind is a huge factor in our response and it made the fire much more difficult to fight, as I said there were no injuries, we didn’t have to evacuate any homeowners,” explained Metzler.

Leona Hodo has lived in Sedgwick for the past five months.

She lives on the corner of 4th and Washington, near where the salvage yard is.

“It was a small fire in the beginning,” said Hodo.

However, Hodo says, that all changed in a matter of seconds.

“It was you know out of control just the smoke was so black,” said Hodo.

It was enough of a concern that her daughter, Crystal Casella, rushed home from work to make sure everything was okay.

“I was brought home right away to make sure everyone was safe and my daughter was okay and I just seen a lot of fire just everywhere,” said Casella.

Metzler said there were some commercial structures in danger from the fire and those were evacuated as a safety precaution. He said people will be let back into those building shortly.

It took the fire crews about two hours to get the fire under control.

The other fire happened south of El Dorado. The fire is now under control. The El Dorado Police Department tells KSN News there was a large grass fire south of town.

Residents between SW Shumway and SW Purity Springs Rd. and SW 40th to SW 70th received a reverse 911 call to be prepared to evacuate. So far, no evacuation orders have been issued.

The fire started around 1:00 p.m. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said the fire started with a man cleaning out a fire pit and getting rid of a stump. The stump still had some embers and caught on fire at the landfill.

Crews initially thought it was put out but it caught back and spread towards Hopkins Switch about a mile south, and then it spread down to 60th.

Sheriff Herzet said there were evacuations put out but some people stayed home. Crews are still treating hot spots, but the sheriff said the main threat seems to be contained and put out.

“It is a great thing with the wind blowing as hard as it is out of the south over 20 mph that we were able to get people evacuated,” explained Sheriff Herzet. “A lot of people chose to stay home and that is fine. But we have lost no homes, no outbuildings, no livestock that we are aware of.”

The sheriff did say that are looking for some cattle that ran off.

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