By Ryan Richardson
RIVERTON, Kan. —
A Riverton family lost their home in a fire on Christmas Day.
The home, occupied by Mark Wittenmeyer and his daughter, was a total loss, according to Galena Fire Chief Bill Hall.
“The fire began around the fireplace and it set off the smoke alarm,” Hall said. “Mark did not see any immediate smoke, but then he checked the roof, which was on fire. After attempting to put it out with a fire extinguisher, he called 911.”
Firefighters from the Galena Fire Department and the Baxter Springs Fire Department were dispatched to the fire at 10:14 a.m. They battled the blaze, but high winds prevented them from saving the home on Alternate Highway 69, north of Riverton, Hall said.
Both Wittenmeyer and his daughter were unharmed. Hall said they were able to recover some items from the house.
“He was thankful to be alive,” Hall said. “He wished us a merry Christmas after we had did all we could and that really got to me. It’s just a shame to lose your home and that’s compounded on Christmas.”
Wittenmeyer stayed overnight in a Joplin, Mo., hotel that was provided by the American Red Cross.
Hall said Wittenmeyer has family in the area that will assist with his recovery.