Fire severely damaged two houses Sunday in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan.
No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported shortly before 2 p.m. in the 400 block of Barnett Avenue.
Arriving crews reported seeing heavy smoke and fire coming from both houses and immediately asked for additional firefighters to battle the blaze.
Firefighters searched the houses and reported that no one was inside either home, said Kansas City, Kan., Battalion Chief Don White.
Richart Nastav, who has lived in one of the damaged houses for 55 years, said he was watching the Kansas City Chiefs game on TV when he smelled smoke.
Concerned, he got up and looked outside to see where it was coming from. That’s when he saw flames shooting out of the back of his neighbor’s house. Nastav said he noticed that the fire was spreading to his house.
Nastav got his garden hose and started spraying water on his house to put out the flames. He said he had the flames halfway out when he was told that it wasn’t safe and he had to leave.
The fire was across the street from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, which was hosting a birthday party at the time. Children at the party came outside to watch the firefighters work.
After the fire was extinguished, firefighters let the kids spray water on their equipment to help clean it off. Some of the children shared cake with the firefighters.
The fire department tries to get out into the community and interact with children whenever they can, White said.
“We don’t want our first interaction with them to be at this kind of situation,” he said. “We want them to know we are their friends.”