Two firefighters have died from injuries suffered while battling an apartment fire in Kansas City. Two others were injured.
The two were caught in the building as a portion of it collapsed.
Fire Chief Paul Berardi said 17-year veteran Larry Leggio and 13-year veteran John V. Mesh were killed after the structure collapsed around them just minutes after their gallant actions. He didn't provide their ages.
Berardi addressed the media after learning the firefighters had succumbed to their injuries.
"It's difficult when you live with somebody for 24-hours a day, and you're laughing and joking one minute and then something like this happens in the line of duty. What's good for their families to know is that they didn't die in vain. They saved two civilians, carried them out of the second floor on ladders before the wall collapsed," Berardi said.
The two other firefighters hurt were both taken to the hospital. One was treated and released while the second was being kept in the hospital for observation overnight.
As Berardi mentioned, two residents were rescued from the fire and were unharmed.
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Mayor Sly James also issued a statement.
"Tonight's tragic loss is a reminder that Kansas City firefighters put their lives on the line for all of us every day. Our condolences go out to the loved ones of those who made the ultimate sacrifice today, and we pray for recovery of the injured," James said.
The Kansas City Royals will offer a tribute to the firefighters before their ALDS game against the Houston Astros Wednesday night. The ceremony will include a moment of silence.
The building, located near the intersection of Independence Avenue and Prospect Avenue, began to collapse at 8:07 p.m., some 35 minutes after the residents were pulled from the building.
A mayday call was issued and all firefighters were ordered from the building due to the dangerous conditions. Unfortunately, some of the firefighters didn't make it out.Firefighters gathered at the hospital to give support to each other and the families of those firefighters. Plans were developed to offer support to the devastated families.
It's been seven years since the last KCFD firefighter to die in the line of duty.
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