South Topeka warehouse fire still smoldering on Friday
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A large warehouse fire that started late Thursday afternoon continued to smolder on Friday morning, as investigators were seeking to determine the cause of the blaze.
Shawnee Heights fire crews remained at the scene past mid-morning Friday as smoke continued to come out of the south end of a block-long warehouse building in the Forbes Industrial Park.
The blaze was reported around 3:45 p.m. Thursday at a warehouse in the Forbes Industrial Park, 929 S.W. University Blvd., just east of the Montara area.
Additionally, a small amount of flames could be seen inside south end of the building on Friday morning, amid charred remains and twisted metal.
A property manager for the building told 13 NEWS on Friday morning that the fire destroyed a 40,000-square-foot section on the south end of the warehouse, one of 12 large structures at the industrial park.
The property manager said four businesses were displaced as a result of the fire: Evergy; Capital Express; Superior Installation Services; and CoreFirst Bank and Trust. The businesses were storing office equipment in the warehouse.
Shawnee Heights Fire Chief Rick Deibert said the blaze was reported around 3:45 p.m. Thursday. Crews responded to find smoke coming from the building and began fighting the fire.
Deibert said firefighters initially made an “interior attack” in an attempt to battle the blaze.
A short time after their arrival, he said, crews took a “defensive” position as they began fighting the fire from outside the structure.
The damage was extensive, as all that remained on Friday morning were a few exterior walls and a smoldering pile of debris inside the warehouse.
A firewall on the north end of the warehouse unit that caught fire helped keep the blaze from spreading to adjacent areas of the large building.
“The roof did collapse,” Deibert said. “It was later in the fire, but we were able to stop it with the help of a firewall between the next business.”
Other fire departments responded to the scene for mutual-aid support. They included the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority Fire Department; the Kansas Air National Guard 190th Refueling Wing Fire Department; the Topeka Fire Department; and the Mission Township Fire Department.
Deibert said the assistance from other departments was a “tremendous help. We couldn’t do it without the help of our partners.”
After the blaze was brought under control, some of the fire companies were able to leave the scene, starting around 9 p.m. Thursday, Deibert said.
“We did keep crews on scene overnight,” he said of the Shawnee Heights fire department, “just to monitor the scene.”
In addition to crews from the Shawnee Heights fire department, investigators from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Topeka Fire Department also were at the scene Friday morning, attempting to determine the cause of the blaze.
No injuries were reported in the fire.
A damage estimate wasn’t available late Friday morning.
Check wibw.com later for more details as they become available.
Shawnee Heights fire chief
The roof did collapse. It was later in the fire. We were able to stop it with the help of a firewall between the next business.
About 9 or 10 o’clock, we started letting people go. We did keep crews on scene overnight just to monitor the scene.
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