Dale home razed by wind-driven fire

By Susan Edmonston
Protection Press – March 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 25, 2014

protection fire 3252014

The Kurt and Andi Dale family lost their rural home to a wind-driven fire early Sunday morning. Gusts of over 40 mph were recorded in Comanche County at the time. The Dales farm is two miles north and a quarter of a mile east of Protection on Avenue K. Their modular house, now a total loss, was about eight years old.

Sometime after 1 a.m. Andi was awakened by the sound of strong winds and quickly discovered the fire burning in the southeast part of their home. The Dales’ three daughters, Allison, Natalie and Anna, were asleep in the basement. Kurt and Andi got them safely outside.

Andi immediately called 911 and the fire whistle sounded in Protection at 1:30 a.m. Kurt ran back inside the house. With two extinguishers, he tried to keep the fire from spreading to the rest of the structure but smoke filled the house too quickly.

Firemen in several trucks responded from Protection and Coldwater, along with other emergency medical service vehicles. The crews soon had the fire under control. At that point damage was contained to the southeast side of the house. Flames had not spread to the many trees around the home.

Everyone left the scene later, with the Dales taking refuge in Kurt’s parents’ home just over a mile north. Bill and Helen Dale weren’t home, but were in Wichita at their daughter Cynthia Lindenmeyer’s residence. After Kurt and Andi notified them, Cynthia drove her parents to Protection, arriving around 4 a.m. Her husband Doug came later Sunday afternoon.

About 6:30 a.m. Sunday Kurt and Andi returned to their home to do a quick walk through and see what they might salvage later from the smoke and water damage. They returned to Bill and Helen’s around 7 a.m.

Later–with the wind still gusting over 40 mph–embers from the fire blazed up. This second blaze was discovered when Tim and Shelly Peterson (a mile and a half southwest of the Dales) saw smoke and debris in the sky. They drove through their pasture and when they saw smoke pouring from the residence, they made a 911 call at 7:51.

As they weren’t aware of the earlier fire, they were concerned that the family might still be inside. Realizing the Dale vehicles were gone, however, they were confident no one was home. About the same time, Bill Dale and Jerry Hess (a half-mile east of the Dales) also saw the blaze.

Firemen again rushed to the scene, but with the whole structure already ablaze and the flames fanned by the gusting winds, there was little they could do but keep the fire from spreading. It continued to burn for several hours, with the walls eventually caving into the basement. By 11:30 a.m. there was nothing left but the foundation, charred debris and tangled metal.

On hand from Protection were Fire Chief Brian Harris, Assistant Fire Chief Brett Westrup, Tyler Woolfolk, Darren Konrade, Kelly Brumbaugh, Kip Fiegel and Keston Frederickson. Thirteen firefighters came from Coldwater led by Coldwater Fire Chief Greg Ellis, along with Roger Unruh and Chuck Metzger, firefighters from Wilmore. Larry Ellis is Comanche County’s Fire Chief.

The cause of the fire is unknown, stated Brian Harris on Monday afternoon. Later it was reported that the insurance adjuster thought it was perhaps electrical because the fire began in the utility room.

The Dales had two freezers in their basement filled with meat from their family business enterprise of grass-fed beef and chickens. Neither could be salvage. The Dales did have another freezer full of meat in an outbuilding and that meat was moved to the nearby farm home of Joe and Hilary Murphy.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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