Residents spring into action to douse leaf pile after it catches fire at 65th and Roe in Prairie Village

Residents hooked up a hose and worked to extinguish a leaf pile fire near 65th and Roe Wednesday before firefighters arrived on the scene. Photo submitted by Sue Ellen Breeding.

A pile of leaves near 65th Street and Roe Boulevard in Prairie Village caught fire Wednesday evening, but some residents quickly sprang into action to douse it before it spread.

Sue Ellen Breeding, who lives nearby, said a passerby came to her door after noticing the fire to tell her the grass along the curb was ablaze.

“We got our hose hooked up, and he had most of it out by the time firefighters came,” Breeding told the Shawnee Mission Post in an email. “Some dog walkers called 911. It wasn’t huge but could have taken off with the wind.”

Mike Morgan, training chief for Consolidated Fire District No. 2, said crews arrived on the scene at 5:29 p.m. Wednesday and had the fire put out by 5:36 p.m.

There were no injuries.

Morgan said that while the cause of the fire was undetermined he wouldn’t be surprised if it was started by a cigarette or other smoking device that a driver may have tossed out their window. Roe Boulevard is a heavily traveled thoroughfare that connects several northeast Johnson County communities and is especially busy with commuters in the evening around when the fire took place.

“I cannot confirm that was the cause in this case, but the current conditions (dry and windy) are ideal for something like a discarded cigarette to quickly ignite grass, mulch, leaves, on fire,” Morgan said.

Morgan said there have been several other grass fires recently in Johnson County and urged residents to be mindful and properly discard smoking materials.

Breeding agrees.

“Pretty amazing how quickly [the fire] was taking off,” she wrote. “It is an important lesson to people to not throw cigarettes out of their car windows!”