Firefighters were battling a large blaze Wednesday afternoon at a vacant three-story house in central Topeka.
Emergency dispatchers at 11:52 a.m. had received several calls on smoke in the area of S.W. 16th and Fillmore.
Subsequent calls pinpointed the blaze to a block north of that intersection, at a boarded-up house at 1504 S.W. Fillmore.
Upon their arrival, crews found a large amount of flames and smoke pouring out of the wooden-frame home, which was located a block east of Central Park.
Firefighters hooked up hoses to hydrants at S.W. 15th and Fillmore and S.W. 16th and Fillmore and began attacking the fire.
Water pressure in the hoses appeared to be strong as temperatures were in the upper-20s at the time.
As firefighters made their initial attack, large clouds of white, gray and black smoke came billowing out of the house, while flames were seen shooting out of the roof.
Firefighters who were positioned at different points around the house sprayed water on the fire from ground level before an aerial truck arrived on the scene. At that point, the aerial apparatus sprayed water down on the house, helping firefighters on the ground bring the fire under control.
Though the fire appeared to be nearly knocked down on several occasions between 12:45 and 1 p.m., it flared up again, with more smoke and flames coming out of the upper portion of the residence.
Fire crews were able to keep the blaze from spreading to the next-door house at 1508 S.W. Fillmore, an orange, two-story residence located only a few feet to the south.
A slight breeze was blowing out of the northwest for at least the first 90 minutes firefighters were on the scene.
A search of the house revealed no occupants and no injuries were reported. The Topeka Fire Department said the house was vacant at the time of the fire. Investigators found evidence of vagrant or transient activity within the structure.
Crews remained on the scene as of 1:15 p.m., and one fire official said they would be there for a considerable period of time.
The fire was declared under control at 1:48 p.m. It was declared out at 1:53 p.m.
The Topeka Fire Department said in a news release that further investigation was needed to determine the cause. The blaze caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.
According to the Shawnee County appraiser’s website, the property is owned by Sharlett A. Wood-Eden and Kameron C. Eden. Its 2017 appraised value was $17,400.
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