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Bizarre fire call sends rescuers, cops to home

Staff writer

A bizarre fire alarm in the middle of the night Friday morning brought Goessel, Hillsboro, and Peabody firefighters, along with an ambulance and two deputies, to a kitchen fire in the 300 block of Commercial St. in Goessel.

Two teenage girls from the residence told dispatchers that an intoxicated and possibly suicidal woman with a history of sleepwalking had turned on a stove, causing a pan of food to catch fire.

They said she had removed the handle from a stove burner, which could not be turned off, and barricaded herself in a bedroom.

Goessel fire chief Matt Voth arrived at the scene to find a flaming pan of food on the gas stove and the knob removed.

“I put the fire out with my extinguisher and could not turn off the fire,” Voth said.

He threw the pan out into the yard.

“The hood vent was extremely hot,” Voth said. “I had to keep that fire from spreading.”

So he set a tea kettle on the burner to contain the fire.

When Voth went to the bedroom where the girls’ mother was, the bedroom door was locked, and she did not answer.

He went outside, looked through a window, and saw a woman lying on the bed in a fetal position.

Other firefighters arrived, removed a different knob from the stove, and used it to turn off the burner. They also shut off gas service.

When Hillsboro ambulance arrived, Voth advised attendants that the bedroom door was locked and that the woman was curled into a fetal position.

Ambulance attendants knocked on the bedroom door, but there still was no answer. Then they knocked on the window.

After firefighters set up gas-powered exhaust fans to remove smoke from the house, the woman came out of the bedroom.

Ambulance attendants, who said she smelled of alcohol, asked her a series of questions. The woman’s answers were surly.

Two sheriff’s deputies arrived and talked to the woman, then left shortly afterward.

Sheriff Jeff Soyez said deputy Aaron Slater reported that the 14- and 16-year-old girls had been making hamburgers and broke off the knob when they tried to turn off the stove, so they called 911.

Soyez added that the mother was surly and smelled of alcohol.

Friday’s incident was not the first unusual call to the Goessel residence.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, the residence was the scene of a hostage crisis when David Matthew Impson, now 45, took his wife and children hostage, fired a gun inside the house, and at one point opened a front door with a weapon in his hand and called out disparaging remarks to officers.

Deputies and police officers from Hillsboro and Peabody rushed to the scene. A Harvey County special response team, including a sniper and hostage negotiator, also was summoned to assist.

Impson’s wife and three or four children were inside the home when officers arrived. Some of the six children who lived at the home had fled to a nearby residence.

Negotiators contacted Impson by phone and talked with him about 20 minutes before he agreed to surrender.

Charged with seven counts each of kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, six counts of endangering a child, and criminal discharge of a weapon, Impson pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and criminal discharge of a weapon.

He was in prison from Sept. 4, 2019, until March 5, 2021.

According to Kansas Bureau of Investigation records, Impson now lives in McPherson. However, appraisal records still list the Goessel house as being in his name.

Last modified May 24, 2023

 

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