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Residents thankful a 600 acre fire wasn't worse - KOAM TV 7

Residents thankful a 600 acre fire wasn't worse

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One day after a massive fire in Galena, Kansas, residents count their losses, but say they are still thankful.  The grass fire was reported shortly after noon yesterday.  Firefighters say strong, gusty winds broke a power line near Galena, causing the blaze.

Firefighters say about 600 acres of grassland is now burnt in Galena.

"It was horrifying," says Carolyn Williams.

Williams' son, who lives next door, was at home sleeping while a massive fire came dangerously close.

"I think one of the firefighters pounded on the door and helped wake him up," says Williams.

Both Williams' and her son's homes are undamaged, but her shed, and everything in it, is charred.  All that's left is shock.

"Kind of numb," says Williams.

"We've had fires there before, but never to this extent," says Galena Fire Chief Bill Hall.

It took firefighters about 9 hours to get the grass fire under control on Sunday.  Crews from Baxter Springs, Columbus, Baker Township, Redings Mill, Seneca, Carl Junction, Joplin, and Oronogo all pitched in.

"I think neighbors and everybody need to help each other," says Williams.  "Cities need to help each other.  Because all you have are your neighbors, your friends, and your family."

Williams' van was ruined by the fire.

"I've had hail damage, but nothing like this.  Nothing.  And to be honest, this morning is the first time I've even looked at my car, because I just didn't want to see it," says Williams.

Her insurance company has yet to complete the claim.

One of Williams' cats was burned.  She's now buried the body.

So much land is burnt, but not destroyed.

"It'll all come back green this spring," says Chief Hall.

Then there's the most important part.

"It's a thing.  It's replaceable," says Williams.

Residents we talked with say Empire District Electric has offered some sort of reimbursement to pay for damages, since officials say the fire was caused by downed power lines.

Other residents in the area managed to keep the grass fire away from their properties by using garden hoses to dampen nearby land.

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