ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
Lots of tears were shared over the loss of valued treasures and priceless memories as friends gathered to support Linda and Victor Buckner and their two children when their home caught fire last Wednesday afternoon.
According to Thad Meierhoff, Marion fire chief, “It was a total loss.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s office received several 911 calls regarding a structure fire at 27 Echo Lane at Marion County Lake. The reporting parties advised the structure was engulfed with flames and smoke was visible.
The sheriff’s office, Marion Fire Department and Marion ambulance were initially dispatched. But once they arrived at the scene it was determined that additional assistance was needed. The Florence Fire Department was requested for backup. Resources from Lincolnville Fire District No. 5 were used as well.
Meierhoff said two state fire marshals were in Marion Thursday to investigate the fire.
“There were no indications of how it started,” he said. “It was a bad deal, but if it wasn’t for our crew, Florence and Lincolnville, we could have had a very, very serious situation at the lake.”
Other grass fires popped up quickly in the area, but fire crews were able to keep them contained.
Other lake home owners observing the fire spoke of a fire truck that used to be available to lake people and voiced their concerns regarding future fires.
Dale Snelling, lake and park supervisor, was not in town at the time of the fire, but he recalled the “fire truck” that was used.
It was an older government jeep that was given to the Forestry and Game Commission.
“The Forestry Department issued the jeep to the lake, and we had it for about two years,” Snelling said.
The jeep carried a 150-gallon tank of water and pump. He recalled having used it to save fence posts and poles.
“The jeep was a great ‘mop-up’ tool,” he said, “but it was old, unfamiliar equipment, and that could prove to be dangerous to a firefighter.”
He did not recall having used it to respond to a fire at the lake.
In addition, there was no appropriate place for storage at the lake.
“So we had to let it go,” he said.
According to Meierhoff, no injuries to the family or fire crews were reported.
The American Red Cross-Sunflower Chapter in McPherson was contacted by Marion County Emergency Preparedness. They met with the Buckner’s on Thursday and a plan of support and relief has been implemented.