Community asked to help firefighter and family

Kitchen inside the Dodds' home. Courtesy: Liz Dodds

A Topeka family is picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed their home Wednesday.

The Dodds’ showed Nicolette Schleisman the inside of their fire damaged home.

You cannot tell from the outside of this home off 29th Terrace and Croco Road. “I don’t think it’s going to hit until you know when we think about things that we’ve lost,” said Liz Dodds.

When you walk inside Kris and Liz Dodds’ home, the smell of smoke and burnt belongings is overpowering. Memories and possessions covered in smoke and fire damage.

“What to do next is the problem right now,” said Kris Dodds.

Kris is a firefighter for Topeka Fire Department and Shawnee Heights Fire District. “You’re used to responding to somebody else’s when they’re having the worst day of their life, and it turns out to be yours. It’s a real helpless feeling when you can’t help yourself or your family, you just kind of have to sit back and watch,” said Kris. He says the fire was started by the refrigerator.

The fire started about an hour after Kris, Liz and their two young girls had left in the morning.

Higbee Dodds. Courtesy: Liz Dodds
Higbee Dodds. Courtesy: Liz Dodds

Their dog, Higbee, was the only one inside the house. He was in his kennel in the dining room, right next to the kitchen. He did not survive.

The Dodds say they might not be able to live in their house for another 6 months, but they say the outcome could have been much worse.

“With the damage and everything that’s been done in the house, if we would have been home, this would have been a far more tragic outcome,” said Kris.

The community has sent countless donations to the Dodds to help.

“There’s not enough ways to say thank you. […] prayers are priceless. We need em and we’ll pay them back tenfold,” said Liz.

The Shawnee Heights Fire District is accepting clothing donations for the family. A fund has also been set up for the Dodds family. You can donate at the Topeka Fireman’s Credit Union at 2447 SE 29th Street.



Community members are being asked to help a Shawnee Heights Fire District Firefighter and his family.

Fire broke out inside a home belonging to Kris and Elizabeth Dodds just after 9 Wednesday morning.

Firefighters later searched the home and found the family dog. It was unresponsive and crews were not able to revive it.

Shawnee Heights Fire District Chief Tom Garcia tells Kansas First News the cause of the fire was accidental, attributed to an apparent electrical problem inside a kitchen refrigerator.

A fund has been set up for the Dodds family. You can donate at the Topeka Fireman’s Credit Union.

The family is in need of clothes for their daughters, size 14/16 and size 10 as well as in need of basic toiletries, towels, blankets, bedding, pillows and anything else.

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