Fire destroys Chetopa home

Firefighters from Chetopa, Bartlett and Oswego work to knock down flames at a house at 625 Elm Monday morning. The alarm came in at 9:33 a.m. The state fire marshal was called in to investigate. The fire may have begun in or near the living area where the most damage occurred.

CHETOPA — A fire destroyed a two-story Chetopa home Monday morning.

Chetopa firefighters responded to the blaze at 9:33 a.m. Monday. Firefighters from Bartlett and Oswego also responded. Oswego firefighters brought the air truck to refill each self-contained breathing apparatus used by firefighters. Bartlett and Chetopa firefighters brought trucks and water tankers.

Chetopa Police Chief Scott Feagan said when he and Chetopa Fire Capt. Joey Midgett arrived, there were possibly residents unaccounted for in the house. Feagan wasn’t on duty for the police department at the time but was working for Labette Health Ambulance Service. The state fire marshal’s office was notified to investigate in case there was an injury or death. However, everyone who lived in the house was finally accounted for later in the morning.

Denice Perritt owns the house. The Labette County Appraiser’s Office website shows the house was appraised at $4,620.

Midgett said when he and Feagan arrived, the front of the house that faces south was fully involved.

“Flames were shooting out the windows and out the front door,” Midgett said.

He said the only occupant, Robin Haney, was asleep upstairs when the fire was reported. Haney escaped uninjured through the back door.

The flames spread to the second story and into the ceiling, attic and rafters. The house had a metal roof. Firefighters pulled fascia board and soffit from under the roofline to get to burning embers after they tamed the main fire. A blackened skeleton of two-by-fours remained of the living area in the front. The cause of the fire is unknown. 

Haney said after he awoke to white smoke in the north bedroom on the second floor that he rents, he walked downstairs and tried to find other occupants in the house. He didn’t see anyone. He opened the front door and then left through the back door of the house. He said he saw mostly smoke, and the only flames he saw were near the living area and first-floor bedroom. 

“It popped out pretty quick, probably when I opened the door and got oxygen in there,” Haney said of the fire.

The home’s owner had driven her boyfriend to work that morning. Another woman who was staying in the house at the time was with them, according to Haney and the woman.

Haney said he has lung issues from an illness so he had difficulty breathing. Ambulance personnel offered him oxygen, but he said he refused.

Four dogs live in the house. Riddle scooted out when a door was opened. Magoo, an older English bulldog, also got out. Another dog was with Perritt and her boyfriend. A fourth dog, a Chihuahua, may have been locked in her cage and is unaccounted for, Haney and the woman said.

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