Grass fire causes evacuations


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Whipped by strong winds, a large, early-morning grass and brush fire on Thursday resulted in the temporary evacuation of a west Topeka neighborhood, including guests at a four-story hotel.

The fire was reported around 3:23 a.m. Thursday in the area of S.W. 17th and Arrowhead.

Topeka Fire Marshal Todd Harrison said police units that were in the area reported a large blaze that was spreading to the north because of high winds.

The fire department had police units evacuate the Homewood Suites Hotel, 1519 S.W. Arrowhead, along with homes on S.W. Cheyenne Hills Road from S.W. Drury Lane to S.W. Village Drive.

The blaze was under control around 5 a.m. and residents were allowed back inside their homes, fire officials told 13 NEWS at the scene.

A large area of grass and brush just south of the Homewood Suites hotel appeared to be one of the areas that was scorched.

Several fire trucks and engine companies were stationed in the hotel’s parking lot as crews extinguished the blaze.

Additionally, several other grasss and brush fires were reported along and east of Interstate 470 between S.W. 17th and S.W. Huntoon streets.

Fire crews were called back to the scene around 11 a.m. Thursday when smoke was reported by a resident in the 1500 block of S.W. Cheyenne Hills Road.

Neighbors told 13 NEWS they were awakened around 3:30 a.m. Thursday by police officers, telling them they had to evacuate. Some of the individuals got in their cas and left the area until it was safe to return.

Crews from Mission Township Fire Department provided assistance at the scene.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage.

Harrison said a preliminary investigation indicated the cause of the fire as undetermined.

The following are photos taken by Matt Mason of the fire near the Homewood Suites hotel.

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