Topeka firefighters battled a vacant house fire on Friday morning in central Topeka, just north of S.W. 6th Avenue.
The fire was reported shortly before 7:45 a.m. at 432 S.W. Jewell, which is just west of the Potwin neighborhood and was out in about 20 minutes.
No injuries were reported.
Topeka Fire Department shift commander Chris Herrera said the house was boarded up with plywood and firefighters had a little bit of a challenge getting to the blaze because of various items that appeared to be packed into the structure.
“They actually had to force entry to get in,” he said. “We were having trouble getting to the fire.”
Herrera said investigators hadn’t confirmed whether anyone was in the house at the time of the fire. He said the origin of the blaze was unclear.
Meeko Tinoco said he’s lived across the street from the house for about 20 years. He said he didn’t believe anyone was in the house when the fire started.
“The house is usually boarded up, so there shouldn’t be anybody in the house,” he said.
Tinoco said that, as far as he knows, the owner has never lived in the home in the time he has lived in the neighborhood.
Tinoco said it was his understanding that the house was the boyhood home of the owner and that it’s used mainly for storage. Shawnee County appraiser records show the house is owned by Russell and Tresa Johnson.
Firefighters could be seen throwing insulation and various other items outside of a window on the second floor.
The cause and total dollar amount of the damage remain under investigation.