Firefighters respond to pre-dawn blaze

Robert Smith

A pre-dawn fire along Main Street in Pawhuska last Friday destroyed an old house and reportedly caused hand-and-arm type burn injuries to a man who escaped the flames.

The house was located directly east of Buffalo Joe’s Restaurant, which is at 403 E. Main, but the fire caused only a couple of cracked windows at the restaurant, Pawhuska Fire Chief Gip Allen said.

The first call about the fire came in at 4:38 a.m., Allen and Interim Police Chief Lorrie Hennesy said. Two people escaped from the burning house, Hennesy and Allen said.

Hennesy said first-responders found the two people behind the house. She said that she understood that a man, who suffered burn wounds, had been treated at the local hospital and released.

Allen said Pawhuska firefighters used two pumper trucks and a tanker truck to fight the fire at the house. The fire department also used a grass rig to wet down embers at an old lumber yard nearby, he said.

There were no utilities connected at the house that burned, Allen said. He added that he did not yet know what had caused the fire. Firefighers were actively engaged in subduing the house fire until about 8:40 a.m., Allen said. The department left one truck at the scene, he said. No firefighters were injured, he said.

Allen said Tuesday that the cause of the fire was still undetermined.

Destiny McDaniel, manager of Buffalo Joe’s, said by phone shortly after 8 a.m. Friday that her business was “up and rolling.” Buffalo Joe’s has been serving meals delivered to customers at curbside during the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant has also embarked on a venture of selling bulk quantities of food and household supplies to maintain its financial viability and serve the community.

“We are fine,” McDaniel said. She explained that she had initially been fearful the fire might spread to her building, but firefighters kept it off.

The fire department said in an online post that the house was “fully engulfed” when firefighters arrived. As a result, firefighters turned their efforts toward saving other buildings and “were able to save all surrounding structures with minimal damage,” the department said in its post.