UPDATE: Evacuation ordered in McCook due to grass fire
Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News
UPDATE: Officials say that fire was accidental in nature and started when high winds blew power lines into a nearby building. The two arced, and the sparks ignited dry grass.
16 people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and one man had burn injuries. One home valued at over one million dollars was destroyed. Over 200 acres burned.
Parts of McCook are being evacuated due to a large grass fire headed toward town.
The area of evacuation includes anyone north of Q street and west of Norris Avenue.
McCook officials have ordered the evacuation of the northwest corner of the city — west of Norris Avenue and north of Q Street — in reaction to a swiftly moving grass fire headed toward town. The McCook Fire Department has called for extra hose, all available volunteers and mutual aid from nearby towns.
Winds gusting to 50 or more are fanning the flames.
Students at McCook Elementary, which is in the affected area, are being moved to McCook High School and the YMCA. One burn patient and several with possible smoke inhalation were being taken to Community Hospital, where emergency procedures were being instituted.
Firefighters were fighting a blaze at a large home in the northwest part of town, with a roof collapse at the last report.
A number of other homes in the Henton Addition were in danger, and propane tanks were burning.
Fire departments were responding from many area towns, with a tanker truck with 4,000 gallons of water enroute from Oberlin, Kan., at 3:10 p.m.
The McCook Evangelical Free Church, McCook Christian Church and the City Library were opened as possible shelter for evacuation.
Community Hospital is making preparations in case the 16 current patients might have to be evacuated to other hospitals.
Ambulances were enroute from North Platte and Kearney in case patients have to be transported.