ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
The Hillsboro Fire Department responded to a fire Jan. 4 at B&B Handyman owned by John Beltz and located at 136 N. Ash in Hillsboro.
Stan Thiessen, a neighbor living, the north of the building, called the fire in, said Ben Steketee, fire chief.
“We were able to knock it down pretty quickly thanks to Stan Thiessen’s alertness,” Steketee said.
The call from Thiessen came in at 6:15 p.m. Three fire trucks and 13 firefighters responded to the scene.
“The police department had the area blocked off pretty well so we could work, and the EMS was there to assist us with rehab, and I think the whole thing went pretty smoothly,” Steketee said.
Fire investigator Rod Oldridge with the Kansas State Fire Marshall’s office determined the fire was accidental, Steketee said.
The fire was concentrated in the northwest corner of the building where a stove pipe was located.
The fire appeared to have started in the ceiling and probably burned for quite some time before it broke through and came down and started on the floor, Steketee said.
“The fire marshall believes some of the insulation in the ceiling had been caught,” said Dan Kinning, Hillsboro police chief.
“The insulation was flame retardant insulation but not flame proof so that stuff will tend to get hot and kind of snake,” Kinning said. “It probably found a piece of wood and probably sat there and smoldered for awhile and finally caught on fire.”
Steketee said the fire department was able to confine the fire to the northwest corner of the store.
“We had to probe the walls, and the ceiling and the roof to make sure that we had it all out and that takes some time,” Steketee said.
The fire department was on the scene for about three hours. At this time, damage estimates have not been determined.
“We really dodged a bullet,” Steketee said. “I mean, it could have been a lot worse.”