Jenkins family receives support following house fire

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – October 17, 2018

Photo by Paola Fire Department

The Paola community is rallying around a local police officer and his family after they lost their home in an early-morning fire Oct. 9.

Paola firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire at 711 Redbud Drive in the Indian Hills subdivision at about 5:45 a.m. Oct. 9.

Paola Police Capt. Eric Jenkins and his family members were able to make it out of the house safely, but the fire was beginning to spread when firefighters first arrived.

Capt. Joe Flake of the Paola Fire Department said there was heavy rainfall while firefighters were working to extinguish the flames, but contrary to popular belief, rain doesn’t do much to help put out house fires.

“It makes very little difference,” Flake said.

Firefighters entered the home, and Flake said they had some difficulty reaching the fire due to the home’s setup, but they soon were hitting the flames with water flow from the inside, as well as water from hoses and an aerial truck on the outside.

Flake said it appears the fire started in the back of the home, near the deck, and then spread up the wall and into the ceiling and attic.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but an investigation is ongoing. Flake said he believes he can rule out a lightning strike.

The flames didn’t reach the bedroom areas, but Flake said he believes the home will be a complete loss due to smoke and water damage.

Flake said the timing of the fire actually helped the family members escape as they were awakened by their morning alarm before the smoke alarms went off.

“They were fortunate,” Flake said.

About 20 Paola firefighters were assisted on the scene by firefighters from Louisburg and Johnson County Fire District No. 2.

Several Paola police officers also visited the scene to show their support for Jenkins and his family. Eric and his wife, Leslie, said they will be renting a residence in Paola this week, and they are thankful for all of the support they have received from the community since the fire.

“We both want to express our gratitude to everyone in the community who has reached out to help us,” Eric and Leslie said in a written statement. “We are extremely fortunate for the support, which has made dealing with this situation much easier. This has been a great reminder as to why Paola is such a great place to live.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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