1 dead, dozens of homes destroyed in Cottonwood Complex fire in Reno County

The Cottonwood Complex fire destroyed 35 homes, 92 outbuildings, 110 vehicles and resulted in one man's death.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 11:18 AM CST
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - A deadly fire in Reno County is 70-percent contained as of Monday, according to fire officials. The Cottonwood Complex fire started Saturday morning, which is exactly five years to the day of the Highland Fire which destroyed more than 5,000 acres and forced hundreds to evacuate an area north of Hutchinson.

Crews said the Cottonwood Complex fire is considerably bigger and more damaging. As of Sunday, the 12,000-acre fire had destroyed 35 homes, 92 outbuildings, and 110 vehicles. Two homes and eight outbuildings sustained some damage.

Crews also found the body of a man who had been reported as missing from the fire. The investigation into his death has been turned over to the Reno County Sheriff’s Office. He has yet to be identified.

Evergy says its crews replaced about 75 poles along with multiple switches and transformers after Saturday’s fires whipped up. The company said all customers who could receive power were back online as of 8 p.m. on Sunday.

About 40 individuals from the Johnson County Task Force, Hutchinson Fire Department and Kansas Forestry Service are working to bring the fire under control as of Monday. Their focus is on cutting down large burning trees and working to put out the fire under smoldering cedar trees along the perimeter.

For those wishing to provide assistance, donations of water, Gatorade, and snacks can be brought to the Command and Training Center, 321 E. 4th. No food is needed.

Monetary donations for those affected by the fire can be made by calling 2-1-1, mailed to United Way office, 924 N. Main, Hutchinson or by going online to the United Way of Reno County website, https://www.unitedwayofrenocounty.org/

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