fire

Smithville Fire Protection District

This story was updated Thursday at 4:30 pm with comments from the fire district's lawyer.

In an unusual move, the Missouri State Auditor has subpoenaed the Smithville Fire Protection District for financial records. The auditor requests documents constantly from state and local governments, but very rarely is a subpoena needed.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond.

But seven out of 10 American firefighters are actually volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Is high school too early to figure out what career path to follow?

The Olathe School District doesn’t think so.

When the new Olathe West High School opens for all students on Thursday, the district will have a total of 17 specialty academies in its five high schools.

For as long as most people can remember, the main mission of Johnson County schools has been preparing kids for college.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two children died and four adults were injured in an early morning apartment fire in Overland Park.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday near 88th Street and Broadmoor, according to fire department spokesman Jason Rhodes. He says firefighters immediately called for a second alarm.

"Upon arrival they were met with heavy smoke and fire showing from two sides of a two-story apartment complex," Rhodes says.

SigAlert.com / KC Scout

Parts of I-435 near U.S. 69 Highway and Antioch Road in Overland Park were down to one lane of traffic Monday morning after a semi-truck crashed and caught fire.

The accident snarled the morning commute for metro-area motorists.

According to John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department, two people were injured when the tractor-trailer carrying dried goods hit the median near 69 Highway around 4 a.m. Monday.

The driver and one passenger in the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries. Both were taken to a local hospital and later released.

A firefighter with the Mayview Fire Protection District was killed and another person was injured Monday in a three-vehicle accident.

Great Plains Ranchers Look To Rebuild In Wake Of Massive Fires

Apr 6, 2017
Bryan Thompson / Harvest Public Media

Gena Kirk did not realize the largest wildfire in Kansas history was closing in on the Kirk Ranch on March 6 until she got a call from her brother-in-law. After realizing that her herd was in danger, she jumped into her pickup and sped up the hill where several of her cattle were grazing.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It's been nearly 30 years since six Kansas City firefighters were killed in an explosion after responding to a call about a truck on fire. A few weeks ago, Bryan Sheppard, one of five sentenced to life in prison, was released, because juvenile sentencing laws have changed since the time of the then 17-year-old's conviction. We check-in with Sheppard on life after prison.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Local and federal officials have determined the cause of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex Monday and damaged many nearby homes to be accidental. 

"Based on an examination of the scene, interviews of witnesses and other information obtained during the investigation, investigators are confident the fire was caused by the accidental ignition of wooden building material ignited by a welder conducting hot work on the site," said Overland Park Fire Marshall Mark Sweany.

Courtesy of Daniel King

Updated, 8:20 a.m. Tuesday: Fire officials in Overland Park say “skeleton crews” are on hand Tuesday, monitoring the smoldering remains of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex yesterday.

The fire also badly damaged another apartment building under construction and damaged at least 17 homes nearby, destroying 8 of them, according to Overland Park city officials.

Bryan Thompson / KCUR 89.3

Fire crews battled hot spots overnight Tuesday in Reno County, but residents of one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods were allowed back to their houses.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the county, but eight homes were destroyed.

Velera Adams and her husband got the call, along with thousands of others, to evacuate from rural Hutchinson just as night fell Monday. She said they drove to a church parking lot just outside the evacuation zone.

“And we could see the fire, all along north of there,” said Velera Adams. “It was pretty scary.”

Editor's note: This post was updated Tuesday at 3:40 p.m.

Reno County officials are starting to assess the damage caused by a large grassfire that has burned more than 6,000 acres since Saturday.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

It's been nearly 30 years since six Kansas City firefighters were killed in an explosion after responding to a call about a truck on fire at a construction site near U.S. 71 and 87th Street. But the crime remains present and painful, particularly since further investigations cast doubt on whether the five people sentenced to life in prison actually committed the crime.

Julie Denesha and Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Updated 3:30 p.m.  

"While the flames were dramatic, the fire damage could have been worse," stated City Manager Troy Schulte in a news release. "The redevelopment plan will move forward on schedule."

City officials said Thursday that despite the damage to two of the buildings in the historic 18th and Vine jazz district "there are no plans to demolish the surviving facades as a result of the fire."

courtesy twitter user Colt Snapp ‏@Colt_Snapp

A massive fire was reported Monday morning at the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Shortly after 10 a.m, large plumes of smoke and flames were sighted outside the historic building at 510 Francis Street. 

Islamic Center of Northland

A possible arson is being investigated at a mosque under construction in Kansas City.

Islamic Center of Northland leaders say they arrived at the site, near Barry road in Kansas City north, for a meeting early Saturday morning and discovered blackened interior walls. There was no serious damage reported. 

Kansas City police and a bomb squad responded. Police confirm that two burned bottles were found inside the building. 

courtesy of Heidi Holliday / Rosedale Development Association

A gas explosion Tuesday morning destroyed one of the buildings in the Rosedale Ridge housing complex, an affordable housing project which closed in 2015 due to poor conditions.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department reported heavy damage to the building, one of six in the complex. The building has been torn down.

Forestry officials report the wildfire in southern Kansas is now 95 percent contained, and crews will continue to patrol and monitor the fire line, looking for hot spots.

Farmers and ranchers in Barber County are starting to assess the extensive damage to their land, livelihood and the community.

City of Kansas City

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved  a $1.5 billion budget on Thursday that kicks off a $10 million two-year plan to tear down about 800 abandoned houses, increases spending on basic services by 5 percent and allows for 2 percent raises for city employees.

The same day the council approved a union contract granting firefighters 2.6 percent raises. The agreement reduces a potential wage freeze in case emergency medical services revenue does not increase by 6 percent from two years to one.

ROY ANDERSON / OKLAHOMA FORESTRY SERVICES/ OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL

UPDATED, 10:20 a.m.:  A massive wildfire still rages in south-central Kansas, though authorities on the scene  indicate much of the blaze is coming under control. 

Active fires are still burning in Harper and Barber Counties in Kansas. The AP also reported Thursday emergency responders were called back out to Comanche County after a fire that was contained Wednesday night briefly reignited Thursday morning. 

Southern Platte Fire Protection District

Updated, 4:10 p.m. Thursday.

A grass fire continues to spread in Platte County.

Some 1,300 acres are now involved, said Southern Platte Fire Protection District Division Chief Chris Denney of the fire that began around 10 a.m.

“(The) wind is still super strong out there,” Denney said shortly before 4 p.m.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 11:15 a.m. Friday. About 30 people are displaced after an early morning fire that completely engulfed an apartment building and forced the evacuation of the one next door.

Kansas City Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Cashen says firefighters entered the six-plex at 2660 Lockridge Avenue but were forced to evacuate due to the risk of collapse.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The 18 employees of Snyder’s grocery store at 2620 Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast got paychecks this week, even though they haven’t been to work for over a month.

The family owned business just east of Paseo has been there for 48 years, and the James family has run it for the last 28.

The building sits directly east of where a deadly fire killed two firefighters on Oct. 12. The west walls of  Snyder's were totally blown out, and their entire inventory destroyed.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

As the brisk morning morphed into a warm autumn afternoon, residents and business owners began to gather on the perimeters of the site along Kansas City's Independence Avenue where two veteran firefighters died saving civilians in an apartment building fire Monday night.

Seventeen-year Kansas City firefighter Larry Leggio and John Mesh, 13 years with the force, died outside the structure when part of the burning building crashed down on them .  According to reports, they had just brought two residents from upper story apartments to safety.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, Tuesday 7:14 a.m.:

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi identified the two Kansas City firefighters killed in a blaze Monday night as Larry J. Leggio and John V. Mesh. 

Leggio was a 17-year veteran who worked on Truck 2, Station 17, as a fire apparatus operator. Mesh was a 13-year veteran firefighter assigned to Pumper 10.

An emotional Berardi said Leggio leaves behind his wife and mother. Mesh had a wife and four young daughters.

Missouri Valley Special Collection / Kansas City Public Library

A fire at the historic Hotel Savoy in downtown Kansas City, Mo., late Thursday damaged several floors of the building, which used to be known as a frequent stop for several U.S. presidents.

Firefighters told KSHB 41 Action News that the fire started due to "inattentive cooking" in the Savoy Grill. There were no customers in the restaurant at the time. Residents of the apartments above evacuated without injury. 

A  Jackson County grand jury has declined to file charges against a  Kansas City, Mo., police officer in the 2013 shooting death of a firefighter.

The criminal case is closed in the Dec. 1, 2013, death of Anthony Bruno.

Bruno and the policeman struggled during a brawl leading to the shooting on a downtown street. There had been a dispute over cab fare outside Bruno’s wedding reception party. The pair fought and struggled on the pavement as the officer tried to arrest Bruno.

Courtesy / Kansas City Irish Fest

Fire can take your life, your home, your car, and your loved ones before you know it. For a century and a half, a certain kind of person has signed up to fight fire in Kansas City, and to try to keep catastrophe at bay. On Central Standard Friday, we’ll talk about fire – the kind of fire that has destroyed buildings and lives – as well as the firefighters whose job it has been to minimize the damage.

KCI ARFF

It’s been more than 18 years since KCI had a deadly jet crash. But the crash of a jet at SFO in San Fransisco, Calif. last month is still fresh in the minds of the KCI airport firefighting crew.

Right next to KCI on the former TWA overhaul base, there is a boneyard of old planes, parts of them on pavement. One is an engineless 727 jet and airport Fire Chief Matt Mauer has just had a special crash truck spray it down with fire suppressing foam.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Police say investigation of the fire that gutted a Plaza restaurant that killed one person and injured 15 others will take a bit longer than some expected.

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