Firefighters battle 3-alarm high-rise fire - KCTV5

Firefighters battle 3-alarm high-rise fire after oxygen tank explodes

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Careless smoking is to blame for a three-alarm fire that tore through a 12-story apartment high-rise and displaced dozens of residents.

The fire was reported about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Brush Creek Tower at 1800 E. Emmanual Cleaver II Blvd., just east of the Country Club Plaza.

Kansas City Fire Chief Smokey Dyer said the fire that left one man in critical condition and five others injured could have been a lot worse.

The fire broke out in a 10th floor apartment. The man in the apartment was smoking when his oxygen tank exploded, causing the evacuation of residents on the 10th, 11th and 12th floors.

Dyer said the building doesn't have a fire sprinkler system, and the open atrium of the building didn't help matters.

Terry Henderson was getting ready to leave when he heard the explosion.

"I was getting ready to leave the building. Ready to go to the club and heard a big explosion. I ran ... got out of the building quick," Henderson said.

The fire department created a high-rise fire plan a few years ago. Dyer said Wednesday night was the first time the department had to implement it.

Several residents evacuated had disabilities and had to be assisted down and out of the building. At least 10 people were being treated for smoke inhalation injuries at the scene.

A city bus was on scene to assist some residents by keeping them out of the heat.

Firefighters estimate $13,000 in damage was caused by the fire.

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