By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
A large house fire that had firefighters battling it for hours resulted in no injuries Wednesday afternoon at 1910 Fort in Hays.
Randy Albers, property owner, said he was not home at the time of the incident. A neighbor alerted emergency services.
"My son called me, said, 'Are you sitting down. ... Well, your house is on fire,' " Albers said.
Albers said the cause of the fire was not yet known, but his son and a friend had electronic recording equipment in the basement.
"I'm assuming that it's in the basement, because they got half my basement knocked out on this side and half knocked out on that side," he said at the time.
The call came in at 2:51 p.m., and the Hays Fire Department, Hays Police Department and Ellis County EMS were dispatched to the scene. A Hays Police officer noticed the fire while on patrol and called it in, according to a report issued by the city.
When firefighters arrived, they found a fire burning in the basement of the residence. An initial attempt to enter the house to battle the flames was suspended when firefighters discovered the fire had burned through the main floor of the home, causing it to collapse, according to the report.
That forced firefighters to cut through portions of the house at several locations to reach the fire.
Additional crews from the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, Ellis Fire Department and Victoria Fire Department were called to assist. A total of 36 firefighters and nine trucks battled the blaze, according to the report.
Approximately two hours later, the fire was under control. Crews remained on the scene until 8 p.m. to make sure nothing rekindled.
Albers said he experienced a range of emotions during the emergency.
"I'm at a humorous stage of really ... shocked," he said.
The fire damaged the home's recent renovations. Fresh paint, new porch railings, work on the columns and electrical upgrades were among the improvements.
The house sustained heavy damage, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
The fire occurred during a end of the school day at Lincoln Elementary School, located across the street to the west. School officials had to reroute all pick-up locations of students to the front of the building.