by Ivan Foley
A fire heavy with smoke and short on flames caused a total loss to one of the older houses in Platte City on Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters from Central Platte and Camden Point responded to the scene Thursday shortly after 2 p.m. at 204 Paxton St.
The home was not occupied and no injuries were reported.
Larry Bigus, chief for the Central Platte Fire District, said even though the structure remains standing, the fire “totaled the house, with the fire between the walls and under the ceilings.” Bigus said the home had been remodeled many times through the years resulting in “many different walls and different ceilings” that made the fire hard to fight.
Camden Point firefighters responded after Central Platte had been on the scene for around 30 minutes.
“It was just so warm, a lot of the firemen were getting hot,” Bigus said. “And it didn’t hurt to have a few more hands.”
The state fire marshal was called to the scene to assist in investigating the cause of the blaze. Det. Al Devalkenaere of the Platte City Police Department, who spent seven years investigating fires for the Kansas City Fire Department, said on Monday that authorities at this time are listing the cause as “undetermined until we talk with the owner again.” He said the owner is being cooperative in the investigation.
Det. Devalkenaere said the owner of the structure, which county property records indicate is Donald F. Cockriel, “made a statement indicating what he was doing prior to leaving the home.” That statement “is consistent with the damage and with the area of origin,” Devalkenaere said.
“They had just started renovations,” he explained, saying the house was rental property and the previous occupants had moved out four or five days prior to the fire.
County property records indicate the home was built in 1880. It had an appraised value of around $73,000 on the county tax roll.
Heavy smoke filled the air at times as neighbors and other onlookers watched firefighters tackle the blaze. The home is located just a couple of blocks from downtown Platte City.