Fire investigators say cause of Roeland Park blaze undetermined, but no malicious intent

The home in the 5300 block of Birch Street was boarded up Thursday after being gutted by fires. The house is a total loss.
The home in the 5300 block of Birch Street was boarded up Thursday after being gutted by fires. The house is a total loss.

Consolidated Fire District No. 2 Chief Tony Lopez said on Thursday that investigators from his department had not been able to determine the cause of the two fires that gutted a home in the 5300 block of Birch Street in Roeland Park starting Wednesday night, but that there were no signs of malicious intent.

The homeowner, Deborah Williams, said she heard a popping sound in the garage that led her to believe the fire may have been electrical.

Lopez said the second blaze, which ignited in the early hours of Thursday morning and consumed the home’s roof, was caused by hot spots that had not been completely extinguished when crews left the scene initially before midnight. Lopez said the layout of the house, a Cape Cod, made it difficult for crews to verify that the fire had been completely extinguished.

“It’s the nature of the way the house was built,” he said. “It’s tough to get in there and dig it all out.”

By the time firefighters arrived on the scene to begin battling the second blaze, the home’s roof was completely engulfed in flames. Firefighters remained on the scene until 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Photo courtesy Roeland Park Police Department.
Photo courtesy Roeland Park Police Department.