Fire started in abandoned house, soread to buildng next door

Two people lost their home and damages are estimated at $250,000 in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed two buildings in downtown Taft Wednesday.

The fire started in an abandoned house at 527 North Street and spread to an occupied residence at the rear of a commercial buildings where the two misplaced people lived.

More than 30 firefighters from three battalions and manning six engines, two ladder trucks and support vehicles responded to the the fire.

KCFD Spokesman Andrew Freeborn said construction of the structures and a large amount of items in the back yards made firefighting difficult and labor intensive.

The building where the fire started had been boarded up. Firefighters had a difficult time accessing it and the fire was able to spread into the attic of the building at 525 North.

The front of the second building was a former commercial building with an attached residence in the rear.

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a home to the west and the Masonic Temple to the east. The estimated save to those properties is $1 million.

One the fire was knocked down, firefighters allowed the two occupants to go through the burned residence to retrieve personal belongings.

The displaced residents were being assisted by the American Red Cross and City Serve, a collaborative network of churches and community groups.
Two kittens were also saved from the fire.

The abandoned house was deemed unsafe and demolished by the city Wednesday evening. 

The fire was reported at 2 p.m. and knocked down in just over an our, but firefighters were on scene for several hours.