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Fire Levels Wathena Home

Monday afternoon fire destroys a home just west of Wathena. Electrical problems complicate emergency response.
(WATHENA, Kan.) A northeast Kansas family is homeless after their home burned to the ground.

It happened Monday afternoon just west of Wathena.

Crews say what complicated matters was the fire happened during a previously scheduled electricity shutdown for parts of the city while repairs and upgrades could be made to the system.

The backup generator at the fire house failed and there was a delay in getting local responders to the scene.

Wathena's fire chief says the fire was so intense it wouldn't have mattered had there been a quicker response time.

"When I got there, the flames were showing up all the way to the edge of the roof," said Tony Libel. "It had not burned through but all of the windows were out. It was totally engulfed inside."

Crews from Elwood and Rosecrans Airport responded along with the Wathena units, but the home was a total loss.

Because of the extent of the damage, a cause of the fire might never be determined.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is helping the family relocate.
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