Investigators work to determine what sparked Shawnee fire - KCTV5

Investigators work to determine what sparked raging apartment fire

Posted: Updated:
© Dwain Crispell/KCTV5 © Dwain Crispell/KCTV5
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

Investigators shifted through the rubble Friday in an effort to determine what sparked an inferno at the Hampton Woods apartments.

One 20-unit building was completely destroyed, displacing 40 people from 29 families. They are now working to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Robert Anderson's apartment is now a pile of wood and ash covered in soot. His family pictures and other precious items are gone.

But he is counting his blessings.

"Thanks to the good Lord, I'm still able to be here to talk with you guys. That's the most important thing to me in this moment," Anderson said.

Residents from 30 other apartments were evacuated as a precaution, and their homes saw damage.

The American Red Cross provided food and clothing to those affected. In addition, three people received housing overnight. The remainder stayed with friends and families.

Hampton Woods management is working to get displaced residents into vacant apartments.

Thursday night, helpless residents could only watch as firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze. Some burst into tears and sobbed.

High winds fueled the flames. Firefighters had to flee the blaze, which caused the roof to collapse.

Because the high winds blew embers, four buildings were evacuated as a precaution. Firefighters also scurried to chop down trees in an effort to stop the flames from spreading.

The fire occurred at 16847 W. 68th St. at the Hampton Woods Apartments. It was reported about 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

There were no reported injuries but some pets were lost in the inferno.

This is the third apartment fire in Shawnee since Valentine's Day. Two people died a week ago from smoke inhalation after food was left on the stove, causing a fire. In addition, firefighters battled a large house fire on Super Bowl Sunday.

Hampton Woods is near Interstate 435 and Renner Road in western Shawnee.

The local chapter of the Red Cross is assisting those left homeless by the blaze. Crews from throughout the area assisted Shawnee firefighters.

Investigators believe the fire began in a lower level apartment, but the cause is still unknown.

"They're moving equipment to get closer to that area," Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox said. "Then we'll get in there by hand and start taking out (debris) and hopefully make a determination on what caused this fire."

Because of the strong winds Thursday night, Mattox said this was one of the toughest fires he's battled in his career.

"The heat was getting worse and the flames were getting worse and their water wasn't helping," he said. "And it was nothing but the wind pushing that back onto them."

He said he wants to remind residents to make sure they have working smoke detectors.

Mattox said the Shawnee Fire Department will hold several town halls in the coming weeks at apartment complexes to discuss fire safety in the wake of February's apartment fires.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

More News

Shawnee Apartment Fire Sidebar

Updated:

Fire traps 2 people on balcony Fire victims cherish items found in rubble More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Missouri man charged with felony after alleged racial slur

    Missouri man charged with felony after alleged racial slur

    Thursday, January 29 2015 11:44 PM EST2015-01-30 04:44:07 GMT
    A 65-year-old Maryville man is charged with felony assault after he allegedly confronted a black server as she served him breakfast. The man is accused of assaulting her and using racially insensitive language.More >
    A 65-year-old Maryville man is charged with felony assault after he allegedly confronted a black server as she served him breakfast. The man is accused of assaulting her and using racially insensitive language. More >
  • Former Kansas City, KS community activist convicted of causing deadly crash

    Former Kansas City, KS community activist convicted of causing deadly crash

    Thursday, May 25 2017 4:28 PM EDT2017-05-25 20:28:48 GMT

    A woman accused of driving into a group of teens, killing one of them, has been found guilty on all counts.

    More >

    A woman accused of driving into a group of teens, killing one of them, has been found guilty on all counts.

    More >
  • Judge clears courtroom after victims' family members yell at Tamika Pledger

    Judge clears courtroom after victims' family members yell at Tamika Pledger

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 5:36 PM EDT2017-05-24 21:36:53 GMT

    A woman charged with killing a teen and hurting three others took the stand Wednesday, and it caused chaos in a Wyandotte County courtroom.

    More >

    A woman charged with killing a teen and hurting three others took the stand Wednesday, and it caused chaos in a Wyandotte County courtroom.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.