By BECKY KISER
Firefighters remain on the scene of a house fire at 1910 Fort in Hays.
The fire started shortly before 3 p.m. at the corner of 20th and Fort streets. Crews from Hays, Victoria and Ellis County Rural Fire responded. Traffic around the area was blocked by the Hays Police Department.
According to the Hays Fire Department, fire crews found a fire burning in the basement. Because the first-floor had sustained damage from the fire, it was determined to be unsafe. Firefighters cut through the walls and floors in several locations to reach the fire from the outside.
Witnesses at the scene reported seeing smoke coming from the basement and windows of the two-story house, although they did not see any flames. As firefighters on the ladder truck poked a hole in the roof, more smoke poured out of the building.
The fire was under control by 5:10 p.m., although as of 8 p.m., a truck and crew remained on scene to ensure the fire did not rekindle. The interior of the home sustained heavy damage, the HFD reported.
The occupant was not at home at the time of the fire, which is under investigation by city officials and the Kansas State Fire Marshal.
The fire forced Hays USD 489 officials to notify parents of Lincoln School students to pick up their students after classes in front of Lincoln School on Ash Street.
No information is yet available from the Hays Fire Department.