House Fire

Fire destroyed a vacant house at 1416 Chess early Sunday morning.

A weekend fire destroyed another vacant home in Parsons.

Because no utilities were on in the house at 1416 Chess and Parsons firefighters could not determine a cause because of the damage, the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office and Parsons police investigated the blaze. This is the second fire in eight days involving a vacant home in Parsons. The other fire occurred at 707 S. 16th early on Saturday, June 22. Both homes were destroyed.

Firefighters were called at 5:46 a.m. Sunday to 1416 Chess.

Parsons Fire Chief Jay Hawks said fire was showing in multiple areas of the home, including the roof, when firefighters arrived. Within an hour, firefighters had the fire under control but remained on scene for several hours after that.

Hawks said firefighters had one of the walls left standing pulled down for safety reasons. Two walls remained standing Monday, but Hawks thought they would be knocked down for safety as well.

He said firefighters were not able to determine the origin of the blaze, which prompted a call to the fire marshal. The cause of the fire on South 16th hasn’t been determined either.

Hawks said he didn’t know if the two fires were related because of the distance between them. 

The homes to the east and west of the fire also received damage to siding, as did two vehicles.

Firefighters tried to protect the fire from spreading to adjacent homes by spraying water on the east and west sides, Hawks said.

The house had a red sticker because it was on a list that recommended it for condemnation. City building inspector and code enforcement officer Rob Gartner said he has 55 houses on that list so far for the city manager to consider for the condemnation process. The red tag means the house failed an exterior inspection that graded the existence and quality of windows, doors, air conditioning, plumbing and other factors. The placard also allows the police department to remove trespassers because of the condition of the homes.

Gartner said that list is just getting started.

Charlene Bode is listed as the owner of the home, which was valued at $3,800 on the Labette County Appraiser’s website.

In 2018, three vacant homes burned in Parsons: 1421 Dirr on April 26, 2018; 507 S. 20th on April 7, 2018; and 1008 S. 21st on March 8, 2018.

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