Charcoal ashes from a backyard grill on a deck are blamed for a weekend house fire in Derby, according to fire investigators.
Wichita and Sedgwick County fire crews spent several hours on scene of a major house fire in one Derby neighborhood Saturday night.
Crews were called to the scene near 63rd and S. Jade around 10 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters arrived to find thick smoke and flames coming from the back of the home. The two homeowners were able to make it out of the house safely before crews arrived.
Crews made a quick attack and were able to put the fire out and keep it from spreading, but it had already caused damage to all three levels of the home. Investigators estimate it caused $250,000 in damages to the structure and another $100,000 in damages to content.
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News the homeowners had been grilling out on their walkout basement before the fire started.
"I talked to both of them last night, she was just absolutely distraught. Just imagine that, absolutely distraught and he was saying that it was just his grill that just flared up," said neighbor Mike Tuttle. "Apparently from what I understand, winds swirled and caught the coals just right and he said before he knew what was going on, it was up the side of the house."
Tuttle said he believes it was just an unfortunate set of circumstances.
"It's one of those things from what I understand," added Tuttle. "Just wrong place, right time, right conditions."
Because of the high heat and humidity Saturday night, extra fire crews had to be called out to help fight the blaze.
The family had been planning to move out of state Monday, fire officials said.