Luke Mortensen and his girlfriend were asleep at noon Wednesday at their home at 710 N. Ash St. when a fire broke out.
Mortensen’s sister, Holly Mortensen, said she had just arrived for a visit when she saw smoke coming from the roof and called 911.
Everyone was able to escape the house unharmed.
McPherson Fire Chief Jeff Deal said the fire is still under investigation, but investigators believe the fire may have started in the rear of the house in the bathroom or laundry room.
Deal said he did not know the value of the house but estimated it to be a total loss.
Deal said the fire was tough to fight because of the age and configuration of the house, which was a rental.
“There was fire in an attic area that had been converted to a bedroom,” Deal said. “Heat rises. It was confined, and because of the construction, getting to the seat of the fire was difficult. You have older homes with voids and hidden spaces. You think you have it out, and then it flares back up again. It was pretty aggravating for us.”
Firefighters remained on scene until about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
No firefighters were hurt in the fire, but all fire personnel on scene had to go through a rehabilitation procedure with EMS.
“When you get all that bunker gear on and its 1,000 to 1,200 degrees, it really zapped our guys,” he said. “We had firefighters who went to rehab four times, even I went to rehab. There was a lot of dirty smoke. It was a hard fire.”