Couple loses everything to McConihe Flats wildfire

The cool temperatures and rainy weather we’ve had so far this summer may have you feeling complacent about fire danger. This weekend Grant County residents were reminded that fire season is most definitely underway.

The Spanish Castle Fire is now contained but not before torching one home and several thousand acres on Sunday. Fire crews shut down State Route 28 between Rock Island and Crescent Bar for most of the day and forced people to find shelter.

Meanwhile fireworks sparked another fast-moving fire in Grant County. At one point 50 homes were threatened in the McConihe Flats area northwest of Moses Lake. By the time crews got it under control, one home was destroyed.

Michael Kinkel and his wife watched their whole life go up in flames; the Grant County couple says from now on the Fourth of July will never be the same and fireworks are to blame.

“I’ve been out here for 25 years and every Fourth of July I cringe because I worry about fire,” Kinkel said.

Charred remains are all that’s left of the Kinkel family’s home.

“I glanced out and I kind of seen a little bit of smoke out here. I ran out the door and there was fire all around us,” he said.

Kinkel, his wife and their pets barely escaped the blaze forced to watch as their home burned to the ground.

“Everything you’ve worked for all your life and saved up for is gone. It’s an empty feeling,” he said.

Grant County officials say a workshop, some vehicles and several out buildings were damaged in the weekend wildfire that was most likely sparked by fireworks. Thirty-mile-an-hour winds helped fan the flames that scorched 1,400 acres.

During the fire fight, and as a precaution, emergency management officials ordered the evacuation of 50 homes.

“It’s ruined the Fourth of July for us and probably many more. It’ll never be the same for us,” Kinkel said.

Knowing that fireworks destroyed their home is heartbreaking; they’ve lost precious mementos that can’t be replaced and will now have to start over from scratch.

“All the personal things we had from our grandchildren that was handed down from our parents and grandparents that we can never replace,” Michael Kinkel said.

The Kinkels are being helped by the Red Cross for three days and then will stay with their daughter.