Gas explosion fueled in 3-alarm apartment fire - KCTV5

Gas explosion fueled in 3-alarm apartment fire

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(Courtesy: Barbara Sherberg) (Courtesy: Barbara Sherberg)
(Brett Hacker/KCTV) (Brett Hacker/KCTV)
(Brett Hacker/KCTV) (Brett Hacker/KCTV)
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Up to 22 residents of the Metcalf 56 apartments, located just west of Metcalf Avenue near Shawnee Mission Parkway, lost their homes and belongings after a fire in one of the townhome buildings.

Firefighters put everything they had into the fire that engulfed three floors of a townhouse located at 5604 Floyd Ave. The fire damaged at least 10 units and another six units suffered smoke damage.

The American Red Cross is helping 15 families.

Fire investigators believe it started in one apartment and quickly spread before anyone noticed it was on fire.

Natural gas was ignited, feeding the fire.

Investigators believe a gas line that feeds fireplaces in the building was turned on Tuesday.

"Gas from that line somehow escaped and found an ignition source in a furnace in one of the apartments, causing an explosion and fire," according to a statement from the Overland Park Fire Department.

Residents say they heard a loud noise and the building shook. Some residents said they had to jump from balconies and walk through hallways filled with smoke to escape.

"I seen a lady on the balcony screaming for help," said Ardean Dunn. "She had to jump from the top of her balcony, her and her husband both."

One person suffered severe burns and was taken to the hospital. A witness said his burns were to his hands and face and the man had just moved into the building.

Four residents were treated for smoke inhalation. An Overland Park Police Department officer who ran into the burning building was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

"One officer is being looked at for smoke inhalation who was probably hurt in the apartments working evacuations at the time," said Jason Rhodes with the Overland Park Fire Department.

The officer will be OK.

"He got out of the rubble. I don't know if there was something in his lungs, probably smoke in his lungs. He got out and was put on a gurney," said Ricky Fallon, a witness.

It took two hours to get the three-alarm fire under control.

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