Accidental Fire Kills Utica Toddler

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A house fire that killed a 2-year-old Kansas boy over the weekend has been ruled accidental.

The state fire marshal's office said Tuesday the fire Saturday night broke out in a utility room of a home in the west-central town of Utica. Firefighters found the body of little Jason Boese in the utility room.

Investigators concluded the fire was not suspicious, but no other details are being released.

Jason's mother and her 5-year-old daughter were able to get out
of the house. The mother was treated for burns at a Wichita hospital.

The toddler's father is a member of the Kansas National Guard and was working in Nebraska when the fire broke out.

Utica is located about 50 miles southwest of Hays.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A small Kansas community is grieving the loss of a toddler who died in a weekend fire.

It happened Saturday night in Utica, located in Ness County. Crews were called to a house fire on Garfield street around 6 p.m.

The fire started in the back of the home near the utility room.

Two people managed to get out of the home, but family members tell KAKE news Jason Boese, 2, died in the fire.

Neighbors said the child's mother tried to save the little boy.

"She tried to go back in, but it was too hot," Melanie Bernbeck said. "She tried to go around to the back door to get in that way and the door was too hot."

The child's mother, Holly, and her 5-year-old daughter, Abby, were taken to a Wichita hospital for treatment. Holly received first and second degree burns to her face. The family said she was treated and released.

The child's father, Cody, is a member of the Kansas National Guard and was working in Nebraska when the fire broke out.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire caused substantial damage to the home.

"It's the christian thing to do to help out someone who is in trouble," neighbor Berthold Bernbeck said.

A fund has been set up to help the family. Donations can be made to the Holly and Cody Boese fund at any Centera Bank location.

The five Kansas locations are:

P.O. Box 400
Sublette, KS 67877

P.O. Box 39
Satanta, KS 67870

2200 N. 14th Ave.
Dodge City, KS 67801

135 S. Main
Greensburg, KS 67054

P.O. Box 67
Minneola, KS 67865

Donation for the Cody Boese fire relief fund are also being accepted at the First State Bank.

P.O Box 245
Ransom, KS 67572

P.O. 68
Utica, KS 67584

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