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Family homeless after house fire

By The Mercury

A family is without a home after a major fire Sunday. Riley County firefighters fought the structure fire at 5650 McDowell Creek Rd. for 10 hours during the afternoon and evening.

The occupants of the home were Tracey Sohnrey, his wife and four children. The family is staying with family and was being assisted by the Topeka Chapter of the American Red Cross. Wayne Erickson, Sohnrey’s father-in-law, owned the home.

It was reported that the basement was fully engulfed. When the first firefighters arrived, the middle of the house was on fire, and the family was standing outside. There were no injuries.

Riley County fire chief Pat Collins requested mutual aid from Geary County and Fort Riley to assist in hauling water since the nearest water source was more than 10 miles away in Manhattan.

The fire was believed to have started around a wood stove in the basement. It resulted in approximately $150,000 damage to the structure and contents, both being considered total losses.

In total, 47 firefighters, two public works employees, three police officers and a two-person ambulance crew responded. It took about 27,000 gallons of hauled water to extinguish the fire. McDowell Creek Road was closed during the fire.

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