McCook officials ordered the evacuation of the northwest corner of the city Tuesday afternoon in reaction to a swiftly moving grass fire that burned down a large house on the edge of town.

The fire was contained by nightfall.

Winds gusting to 50 mph or higher fanned the flames from a canyon and funneled them straight toward McCook, the McCook Daily Gazette reported.

The fire engulfed the home on the northwest edge of town, Regional Editor Connie Jo Discoe reported.

The home on Ponderosa Drive is owned by John and Jennifer Kugler, who were not there at the time. John Kugler is the marketing president for Kugler fertilizers.

Firefighters from Culbertson, Red Willow Western, Cambridge, Bartley, Indianola, Beaver Valley and Trenton, responded, as well as Oberlin, Kan., the Gazette said. Ambulances were sent from as far away as North Platte.

Several hundred people in newer housing developments were evacuated, as well as residents of a mobile home park 8 blocks or so from Kugler’s home.

Students at McCook Elementary were moved and Community Hospital made preliminary preparations in case all the patients had to be evacuated too, the Gazette said Tuesday afternoon.

It was the second grass fire in two days near McCook. A similar wildfire Monday threatened a home southwest of the city.

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