Fire burns cabinet business in Cheney
Fire crews from Cheney and Sedgwick County responded to a fire Wednesday evening in the industrial park on the east side of Cheney. Although the fire was near the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds, the fairgrounds were not in any danger. Staff photo/Travis Mounts

A Cheney cabinetry business suffered extensive damage after a fire Wednesday night.

 

Fire struck Clupny Custom Carpentry just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19. The fire happened in a building that the business shares with Neal Chance Racing Converters, a business that makes convertors for race car engines.

 

Cheney fire chief Brad Ewy said late Wednesday the portion of the building affected by the fire was a total loss. The front half of the building where the racing convertor is did not suffer any fire damage. Ewy said it was too early to tell how much smoke damage that business may have suffered. A firewall separates the two businesses, and fire crews worked to keep the second business safe.

 

Clupny Custom Carpentry also occupies a second building at the site, which is located at 425 E. South Ave. in Cheney, near the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds. The second building was unharmed, and the fairgrounds were never in any danger.

 

Smoke could be seen coming out of several doors in the south half of the building, and it sounded as if fire crews were using saws to cut more holes for ventilation. Flames were not visible, but there was a large amount of smoke that was moving north across the city and was clearly visible in downtown, several blocks away.

 

It took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control, and fire crews will be on the scene all night.

 

“We caught the fire in time. It was contained to the woodworking shop,” Ewy said, adding that it was a total loss.

 

A cause is not expected to be determined until Thursday morning.

 

The fire presented a lot of danger to firefighters. There was a large amount of wood in the building, and much of it was covered in lacquer, Ewy said. In addition, there were barrels of flammable and explosive chemicals.

 

“It could have been very bad,” Ewy said. “There was a lot of fire and explosions.

 

“There was a lot of fuel for the fire.”

 

Fire crews wanted to keep the fire from spreading to the racing convertor business, where there are a number of oil-filled machines and more chemicals.

 

There were several fire engines and additional tender vehicles at the fire. Ewy said the help from Sedgwick County was valuable.

 

“We owe them a great deal of gratitude,” he said. The Cheney Fire Department and Sedgwick County Fire District No. 1 have a mutual aid agreement.

 

The fire put off a large amount of smoke that moved across the city. A cloud, almost like fog, was visible in downtown several blocks away. Officials said there was little risk to the public from the smoke, although the scent of chemicals was evident, especially close to the fire.

 

More details on the cause and the extent of the damage will be posted as they become available. This week’s print edition of The Times-Sentinel already has been printed and mailed, so there will not be coverage in this week’s paper. We’ll provide updates online and have more coverage in the Feb. 27 edition.