Kansas City Fire Department

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

Kansas City Fire Department

The omnipresence of cell phones makes it easier and often quicker for people to report emergency situations.  But the cellular devices are a significant factor in ambulance response times that miss Kansas City's response time goal.

Actually, the city's ambulance service, operated by the Fire Department, performed well in April, according to a report submitted to the City Council Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee.

Of nearly 6,500 calls for emergency service, 65 turned out to be classified as life-threatening emergencies.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department released its report of an internal investigation of the events leading up to the deaths of firefighters John Mesh and Larry Leggio in a blaze on Independence Avenue in October. Questions had been raised why two firefighters were still deployed in an alleyway 11 minutes after it had been designated a collapse zone.

Firefighters Local 42

A committee of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved  a contract with Firefighters Local 42 on Wednesday.

But the union says it is not the deal they agreed to.

The rift prompted hot words from the union president and an icy atmosphere at the committee table.

Upon hearing the proposal City Manager Troy Schulte asked the finance committee to endorse, Local 32 president Bill Galvin's first comment was, “This right here is the first I've seen of this ordinance.  To me this is bargaining in bad faith.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A Jackson County grand jury has returned additional charges against Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of setting the fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters last year.

John Mesh and Larry Leggio died battling the Oct. 12 blaze that injured two other firefighters and reduced a 16-unit apartment building to rubble.

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.

We hear the stories and perspectives from area residents who were affected by some of the news events of 2015: The residents of an affordable housing project that was shut down, a photographer covering the protests at MU, a grocery store manager whose business was caught in a blaze and a doctor from Syria who can never go home again.


Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City police are investigating an apparent suicide of a firefighter outside a fire station at 34th and Paseo.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The deadly Independence Avenue blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters earlier this month was intentionally set, investigators announced Tuesday.

“Late last night, ATF agents and members of the Kansas City Bomb and Arson Unit arrested a suspect who remains in custody at this hour,” said Gregory Gant, Special Agent in Charge for the Kansas City Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Thu Hong Nguyen, 43, told investigators she received insurance payouts from other recent fires.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Fire trucks lined Grand Blvd. Saturday afternoon and an American flag hovered above a crowd gathered outside the Sprint Center. They were there to honor two fallen Kansas City firefighters.

Larry Leggio and John Mesh were given full public honors during a memorial that drew thousands to downtown Kansas City.


Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Federal fire investigators continue to sift through the burned out building in the Historic Northeast that collapsed Monday night, killing two firefighters.

Fire investigators were finally able to enter the building Friday, says Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman John Ham.

“They literally have to think about every footstep because they’re basically on the roof of a three-story building that is down below them,” Ham says.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In official parlance, the death of a firefighter is called a Line of Duty Death, or LODD. And the protocols and procedures for handling one run to several pages. The formal, sometimes antiquated, language of the protocol lends it the gravity with which fire officials approach this somber task. 

"Our methods may change, but our goals remain the same as they were in the past, to save lives and to protect property, sometimes at a terrible cost. This is what we do, this is our chosen profession, this is the tradition of the fire fighter," one section of the protocol reads. 

This past Monday, Kansas City bore witness to the best and the worst that can happen to this town. The same night that saw the Royals win their battle in Houston over the Astros … saw two Kansas City, Missouri, firefighters lose their lives as they battled a two-alarm fire on Independence Avenue. Steve Kraske talks with IAFF Local 42 President William Galvin about the traditions and protocol of honoring those who lose their lives in the line of duty.

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.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of firefighters and spectators took part in the fifth annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday, despite a bomb threat made last week.

Bagpipes and drums echoed throughout the halls of downtown's Town Pavilion as 343 firefighters from eight states suited up and climbed the 38 -story building three times in a row in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Each firefighter had the picture of one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center taped to their backs.

Firefighter Kimble Cowan sits with station dog Lucky.
Esther Honig / KCUR

Sirens flash and wail as the 17-ton fire engine barrels down Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast. The four firefighters on board gear up in their flame retardant boots and jackets as they rush to the scene of a call.

“After 25 years I’ve seen just about everything you can image,” says firefighter Dan Utt, shouting over the blaring sirens. “Probably more than I’d like to recall to be honest.”

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The physical handling of millions of dollars in old cash had resumed at mid-afternoon Thursday at Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Missouri River swallowed up two people seen jumping from the Kit Bond Bridge at midday.

Traffic was stopped on the span that carries some 100,000 vehicles a day.

Police talked with at least one witness.

Visibility was obscured by snow squalls that whipped the river at the time.

KCUR’s Dan Verbeck gave a description from the site where the river search was launched and ended--“this is Riverfront Park, downstream from the Bond Bridge."   

Top Of The Morning News: March 14, 2013

Mar 14, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department released a report on the explosion that happened at JJ's restaurant in February, and Missouri launched a new campaign to discourage meth "smurfing." These stories & more from KCUR.

Explosion Probe Incomplete

Berardi Becomes Kansas City Fire Chief

Jan 10, 2013

Twenty-six years after signing on as a Kansas City firefighter, Paul Berardi has become the chief of the department.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Last week, Kansas City’s Fire Chief Smokey Dyer retired after twelve years at the helm.

Report: More Kansas Citians Surviving Cardiac Arrest

Jul 14, 2012
Dr. Joseph Salomone / KCFD

People in Kansas City, Mo. are more likely to survive cardiac arrest and have better long-term outcomes compared to many other cities. That’s according to new data from the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department.

All-Star Ill-Weather Hovers Over Kansas City

Jul 5, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Mayor Sly James went to the Kansas City Emergency Operations Center for a briefing on readiness for the All-Star Game and most immediate interest shifted to the heat wave.

Kansas City Council OKs Firefighter Contract

May 11, 2012

The Kansas City Council has affirmed a three-year contract with Local 42 of the Firefighters Union. Accord came after weeks of negotiations.

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR: KC Departments Cuts Still Being Debated & Daytime Curfew On Hold.

New Report Cuts Risk Of NBAF, School Board President Preps Others For Leadership & more: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Firefighter, Truck, Station Cuts Described

Mar 1, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The guesswork is over. Kansas City’s fire chief has laid out which fire stations would have smaller staffs, fewer fire trucks and which will close as he faces orders to reduce the department budget by $7.6 million for 2013.

Exit May Ease For KC Chief

Feb 29, 2012

A financial deal is being worked out at city hall to allow Kansas City’s fire chief to retire early and with benefits.

KCCG, Channel 2

Kansas City Mayor Sly James proposed a bold program to renovate and replace crumbling infrastructure and declining neighborhoods in his budget recommendations yesterday.