Strong winds fan embers in outdoor fireplace, causing house fire that killed O.P family’s dog

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Fire crews in Overland Park were called to the scene of a large house fire Tuesday morning.

According to fire crews, a call came in just before 4:30 a.m. to report that a two-story home near 158th and Hardy had gone up in flames.

When crews arrived, they first noticed heavy smoke and fire coming from the back of the home.

(photo courtesy of Overland Park Fire Department)

(photo courtesy of Overland Park Fire Department)

Jason Rhodes with the Overland Park Fire Department said the fire appeared to have started in the back of the home. Because the home has a walkout basement, the fire traveled three-stories.  The two adults and three children who lived in the home were able to make it out safely. One of the family members told FOX 4 that they woke up to the sound of crackling coming from the back of the home, which gave them just enough time to get out of the home.

Within 45 minutes the fire was under control, crews were just working to put out hotpots, which fire crews said were igniting due to the strong winds.

The family did have two dogs, but fire crews were only able to rescue one, according to Rhodes. The other died in the fire.

Tuesday afternoon, Overland Park fire investigators determined an outdoor chiminea likely started the fire. They say the chiminea was stored on a screened-in deck and may have been too close to the house.

The homeowner reported using the chiminea Sunday evening and extinguishing the fire with a cup of water. However, investigators believe there were still hot embers in the chiminea, which were fanned by the winds and ignited nearby materials.

Overland Park Fire reminds people to only use fire pits and chimineas on non-combustable surfaces and to completely extinguish the fire before leaving it unattended.

The extent of damage wasn't immediately clear. Significant damage was reported in the attic and it appeared that flames spread to all three levels of the home.

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