Post updated at 5:38 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7:
A detached dwelling nearby a home at 13th Street and Haskell Avenue was damaged by fire Monday afternoon.
There were no people or pets inside the two-story garage with living quarters at the time of the fire, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Chief Rich Llewellyn said via email. One firefighter was evaluated for exposure to smoke, but was not transported, Llewellyn said.
The fire was reported around 1:30 p.m., and firefighters were still actively working to contain the fire for a few hours. Fire investigators were working at the scene as of roughly 5:30 p.m. Monday.
“Initial offensive operations (attacking from the inside) weren’t successful and operations were shifted to a defensive strategy that involves firefighters operating from exterior positions,” Llewellyn said.
Smoke billowed east, making the nearby neighborhood streets hazy.
A neighbor at the scene said she had heard several bangs that sounded like gunshots before she heard the sirens and saw the fire. She said she recalled hearing similar noises before another fire in the area that ultimately was determined to be paint cans exploding in a garage.
“It’s not unusual to hear such noises during structure fires and that’s also not the first time that I’ve heard of a neighbor or resident being alerted to a fire by a similar sound,” Llewellyn said.
He said the cause and origin of the fire are under investigation, and LDCFM might be able to release more information once fire investigators have completed their work.
There was no obvious damage visible from the street on the home nearby the dwelling.
“I don’t believe that the primary residence on the property suffered any damage,” Llewellyn said. “The determination regarding the percentage of loss to the garage and living quarters will need to be completed by the property owner and their insurance company. I don’t yet have any estimated dollar amount of damages to the structure that I could share.”