Structure Fire at 6814 Knoll Court, Dec. 30, 2017
On Saturday, December 30 , 2017 around 7:30 PM, the Shawnee Heights Fire District was dispatched to a possible structure fire in the 6800 block SW Knoll Court in the Montara Community, south of Topeka. An Engine Company, Two Pumper/Tankers, a Truck Company and 24 Firefighters responded to the initial alarm. In addition, an Engine Company and 4 Firefighters responded under a mutual aid agreement with the Kansas Air National Guard Fire Department at Forbes Field and American Medical Response provided a Paramedic ambulance. While responding, the fire dispatcher advised that they were receiving numerous 911 calls from citizens in Montara reporting a fire on the back (north) side of a house. The first firefighter to arrive at the scene, around 7:33 PM, reported that the rear of the single story, wood frame home at 6814 SW Knoll Court was fully engulfed in flame.
Weather conditions were less than ideal at the time of this fire, with temperatures in the single digits and a north wind that pushed wind chills to 7 degrees below zero. Initial firefighting efforts were hampered as firefighters attempted to gain a water supply from a nearby fire hydrant, but discovered that it was frozen. Firefighters had to locate and lay hose by hand to a second fire hydrant before attacking the fire, which had spread into the attic of the house and attached garage. Firefighters were able to protect other homes nearby, though some suffered paint damage from the radiant heat. The fire was declared under control by the Incident Commander around 9:25 PM.
The home, which was used as a group home by the New Beginnings for Youth Foundation, was appraised at $90,400 and is considered to be a complete loss. No residents were home at the time of the fire and no firefighter or civilian injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The Shawnee Heights Fire District provides fire protection and emergency medical services to 190 square miles of southeast Shawnee County, including the Shawnee Heights, Tecumseh, Berryton, Montara and Wakarusa communities.