Fire destroys home near Askew and Smart

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News

An early morning fire near the intersection of Askew and Smart on Friday, September 22 destroyed a Historic Northeast home, though KCFD firefighters kept the blaze from spreading throughout the neighborhood.

Zachary Laman lives across the street from the home on Smart Avenue, and was awakened by the sound of the sirens. When he looked out the window, he saw an emergency vehicle pull up across the street from his home. At the time, Laman said that he couldn’t detect signs of a fire, and went back to sleep.

Zachary Laman captured a photo of the September 22 blaze near the intersection of Smart and Askew.

Later, though, Laman’s wife woke him back up. Firefighters were combating a raging blaze at the home across the street. Laman’s one-year-old daughter was asleep upstairs as he watched the fire, and he grew increasingly worried as the fire department worked to beat down the flames. He estimated that that firefighters were at the scene until at least 2:30 a.m.

“That was the biggest fire I’ve ever seen personally. The flames were probably bigger than a four-story house; they were that high,” Laman said. “The smoke and the embers were falling down on the house across the street (from me) – you could see them falling on the roof.”

The destroyed home was vacant, but Laman says that he has never noticed anyone suspicious coming in or out of the property. He did acknowledge, though, that there has been previous issues on the block with squatters.

“There’s another abandoned house right next to it, right at the corner of Smart and Askew, and I have seen people go in there,” Laman said. “I called the police on them, and the police came and arrested them. I haven’t seen anyone in that particular house since then.”

Laman said that he was angry to see another fire so close to his home, and he expressed sympathy for the responsible homeowners who live next door to the charred remains.

“It’s really a shame that we have this problem where there are these people that really care about the property, and now they have a charred shell of a house that they have to look at,” said Laman. “All these vacant houses around here are just fires waiting to happen, just like that one happened.”

A fire department spokesperson declined to provide any further details.

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