Father and Daughter Killed in Kansas House Fire

March 24, 2013
A father and his 14-year-old daughter died in a house fire early Saturday morning, their bodies recovered hours after the blaze was extinguished.

March 24--NICKERSON -- A father and his 14-year-old daughter died in a house fire early Saturday morning, their bodies recovered hours after the blaze was extinguished.

George Danser and his daughter, Nikolle Danser, both died in the home at 205 N. Nickerson St., the main street of this town.

Kenneth Burgess, chief of the Nickerson Fire District No. 3 said their bodies were removed from the home Saturday afternoon after being found in the rubble with the help of the Kansas State Fire Marshal.

The house was located on the corner of East Avenue C and North Nickerson Street and was just a charred ruin late Saturday afternoon. The cause of the fire was still undetermined by the state fire marshal.

Tom Lawrence, who lives next door at 209 N. Nickerson St. said his dogs' barking woke him up. By the time he went outside he could see flames in the front room of the Danser home. He didn't call 911 because a vehicle driving past said they had reported the fire to Reno County Dispatch. Dispatch confirmed they received a call at 4:24 a.m.

Burgess and the first engine were in route at 4:30 a.m.

"When we got here it was fully involved," Burgess said.

Lawrence described Nikolle as a "sweet girl," who was an eighth-grader at Reno Valley Middle School. George Danser was a good neighbor, said Lawrence who is disabled and uses an electric wheelchair.

Danser was also disabled with severe diabetes, but he would shovel the snow off of Lawrence's walk, cut his grass in the summer, and even take out his trash.

"He was everybody's neighbor," Lawrence said, noting that he helped out a lot of people around town.

Down the street from the fire at Street Light, a youth center sponsored by Christ's Bible Church, several of Nikolle's friends gathered Saturday afternoon. Tori Lee, a sponsor of the youth center, said they were available for anyone who needed to talk.

Sierra Vincent, 17, said that she had gotten a text message from Nikolle at midnight.

"I was half asleep and she said their house was on fire," Vincent said. "She texted me 15 minutes later and said everything was OK. I went to sleep thinking she would text me first thing in the morning like she always did."

Instead, Nikolle's older sister, who lives in her own home in Nickerson, called Vincent asking if Nikolle was with her. That's when Vincent learned about the bigger fire at the house. She wonders if Nikolle and her dad went to sleep thinking the fire had been put out, but it rekindled while they were sleeping.

Burgess said he had heard about the text message, but there was no way to substantiate the claim.

"We heard the report that there was a fire at midnight. It's only speculation because the person who sent it can't verify it and there is no way to trace it to see."

Burgess said he just wants to remind people, if they have a fire, even if they think they have put it out, it's important to call the fire department.

"No matter what time of day or night, call the fire department," Burgess said.

Like most the residents of this small town 11 miles northwest of Hutchinson, Georgeann Warren was hoping George and Nikolle had been away from home, and was devastated to learn they died in the fire.

"Nikolle was a unique little girl," Warren said. "Her daddy was a handyman and he helped me out. He had just taken a tree down for me."

Reno Valley Middle School Principal Vince Naccarato said that Nikolle would be missed by everyone at the school.

"Our school family is saddened and still in shock over this tragedy," Naccarato said in an email. "Nikolle was a fun, energetic girl who helped our school come alive and was always able to find the positive in any situation. She left us with many great memories."

Vincent said she was over at the Danser home all the time.

"I went there every Saturday, I was tutoring her in school," said Vincent. "She was like a little sister to me."

Copyright 2013 - The Hutchinson News, Kan.

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