Fire Damages Kansas Newspaper Building

By: Chris Hunter | Salina Journal

ELLSWORTH — A fire at a downtown Ellsworth business kept firefighters from the area busy for more than four hours Sunday evening.

Rod Job, interim director of Ellsworth County Emergency Management, said the blaze started at 6 p.m. in the Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter, 220 N. Douglas, and firefighters were still putting out “hotspots” at 10 p.m. He said the cause of the fire is unknown.

“The crews did a good job of getting the fire under control and keeping it from spreading,” Job said. “I’ve never seen a fire like it in Ellsworth.”

Job said firefighters and emergency officials from Ellsworth, Russell, Lincoln and Barton counties responded to the fire. He said the fire reminded him of the Wilson Opera House fire in 2009.

Firefighters battled the fire with several trucks in front of the building, three aerial units and also from the rooftop of Torkelson Chiropractic, located next to the Independent-Reporter.

By 9 p.m., the roof of the Independent-Reporter had collapsed and flames were no longer coming out of the building, but firefighters were still dousing the building with water, trying to keep the fire from spreading to the H&R Block building to the west and the two Torkelson Chiropractic buildings to the east. All the buildings on the block are connected.

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