UPDATE: Overnight fire takes house in rural Lancaster County


Around 1 a.m. Thursday, a fire took a house near Bennet.

Homeowner James King said he awoke to something burning.

"Went to the room to where the baby chicks at," King said.  "We had a heating lamp over the baby chicks and there was a small fire there."

King said he ran to grab the fire extinguisher but by the time he got back, the flames had engulfed the entire room.

"I ran upstairs, grabbed the wife and kid and by that time, the whole downstairs was black, rolling smoke," he said.  "We barely found the exit."

The chicks died in the fire, but the King family and their pets are all safe.

The Bennet, Hickman and Firth fire departments stopped the blaze before it could do any more damage.

King said the insurance company put damages around a $160,000.  He said he’d like to save the house because it’s been in the family since his grandpa built it more than 60 years ago.

"It’s a strong built house, it’s been hit by three tornadoes and survived all of them," he said.  "So that’s kind of why I want to keep it the way it is.  But who knows how that’s going to be feasible or not?"

King said the house wouldn’t be standing if firefighters hadn’t responded as quickly as they did.

In the meantime, the Kings are staying at a friend’s house while they decide what to do next.

A friend set up a GoFundMe page for the King family. If you would like to donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/yqwwj-king-family-support


A rural Lancaster County family is picking up the pieces after an overnight fire ravaged their house.

It happened shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, near Bennet.  Homeowner James King said he woke up to the smell of smoke this morning, when the fire ignited in a first–floor room.

"I ran upstairs, grabbed the wife and kid and by that time, the whole downstairs was black, rolling smoke," King said.  "We barely found the exit.  And we made it out."

Investigators said it was caused by a heating lamp where they had several baby chickens

The chicks were lost in the fire but the King family and their dog were able to escape.

"It felt horrible last night just because it had been in the family for so long and I’ve only been here for five years," King said.

He said his grandparents built the house more than 60 years ago and that he had just finished remodeling it last summer.

He said the house is sort of a family keepsake, so he would like to rebuild after what happened Thursday morning.