Cause of North Newton co-op fire under investigation

Posted: Updated:
NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (KAKE) -

Black burn marks and police tape are reminders of the massive warehouse fire that took place in Newton just 24 hours earlier.

Cavette Dake’s home sits just yards from the warehouse. She watched the crews battle the flames through the night in worry for her safety.

"The area is very flammable because we have a convenience store within 1,000 feet that have underground tanks. We have all the mobile homes over there, all the gas lines... If it had gone up, it would have been very devastating,” Dake said.

Dake had a hard time getting home from work as the blaze grew larger and emergency crews rolled in. At the height of the fire, smoke and flames could be seen for miles around. It was so large that it drew crowds of onlookers and stopped traffic.

"The traffic was so bad that we couldn't even get into our own houses. Some of us were having to park a block or two away and having to walk in to get home,” Dake said.

Investigators are on the scene today trying to determine what initially started this fire but officials say it could have been a lot worse.

"Fortunately crews were able to put a water curtain between the grain elevator and the building itself so we were able to keep it cool enough to keep that risk a little bit less," said Newton Deputy Fire Chief, Steve Roberson.

Compressed plastics and recyclables were stacked to the brim inside the building that sits next to the Newton co-op. The risk of that fire spreading was on everyone’s minds. Now that the blaze is out, crews remain in place to monitor hot spots.

"Now we're just picking up pieces,” Roberson says.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. 

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