Fire Near UCM in Warrensburg

| October 15, 2012
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Image courtesy of the Warrensburg Fire Department.

Three Warrensburg firefighters received minor injuries while battling a blaze at a three story home in the 400 hundred block of Jefferson Street Monday night.  The fire broke out around 10:00 p.m., just southeast of the University of Central Missouri campus.  None of the home’s occupants were hurt.  The injured firefighters were taken to an area hospital.

UPDATED October 16, 2012 5:58 AM:  Press Release from the Warrensburg Fire Department

At 10:12 pm, Monday evening, Oct. 15, 2012, units and personnel from the Warrensburg Fire Department, Warrensburg Police Department, University of Central Missouri Department of Public Safety and Johnson County Ambulance District responded to a structure fire at 405 Jefferson St., Warrensburg, MO. The building is a large three story dwelling that had been converted to apartment uses.

Image courtesy of the Warrensburg Fire Department.

First-arriving units found flames exiting from several windows and the front door of Apartment 2. The fire’s intensity was magnified due to the presence of oxygen cylinders in Apartment 2. Flames spread from the room of origin to the upper floor and then to the attic area. Firefighters using four fire engines and one aerial ladder truck kept flames from spreading to adjacent structures. Acting Battalion Chief Chris Chugg was the incident commander.

This fire loss was investigated by personnel from the Warrensburg Fire Department and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. Fire investigators determined through scene examination and witness statements that the fire reportedly occurred when one of the occupants of Apartment 2 fell asleep while smoking. The occupant woke up and found flames burning next to her. She reportedly attempted to extinguish the flames by pouring water on them. Fire investigators believe the delay in reporting the fire contributed to the extensive flames that were present when the first police and fire units arrived at the scene.

Oxygen cylinders were exploding and producing metal projectiles that posed a risk of serious injury to bystanders.

Three firefighters from the Warrensburg Fire Department were transported to Western Missouri Medical Center by the Johnson County Ambulance District. Two firefighters received ankle sprains from working on the uneven terrain at the scene, and the third firefighter experienced a medical condition that was worsened by exposure to the heat and exertion. All three firefighters were treated and released.

Representatives of the American Red Cross responded to the scene and made arrangements to assist the victims with temporary lodging and other short-term needs. A fire engine and crew remained on the scene throughout the night to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.

Two photos taken by cell phones accompany this news release. The “Initial photo by Acting Battalion Chief Chris Chugg” shows the extensive amounts of flames escaping from the doorway and windows of Apartment 2. The second photo was taken by Fire Chief Phil Johnston after the firefighters controlled the flames and stepped back to take a brief break in their duties.

A referral has made to the Building Division of the City’s Community Development Department. Building Inspectors will visit the scene and post appropriate notices to warn people to keep out of the building.

This news release was distributed at approximately 5:30 am on Oct. 16, 2012. Fire Department personnel most likely will not be able to respond to requests for further information until after 1:00 pm today. All but five members of the Warrensburg Fire Department responded to this emergency.

UPDATED October 16, 2012 2:43 AM

The fire that was reported just after 10PM at 405 Jefferson is under control and no flames are present at this time. The blaze is believed to have been started by some oxygen tanks that were stored in one of the apartment units.  Emergency crews will be on hand throughout the night to ensure the flames do not re-ignite. Fire Chief Phil Johnson says there were no occupants injured but four fire fighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Johnson also states that no other structures were affected.

The Red Cross has been called in to help the families of the three story apartment complex find shelter.

Several streets had to be blocked off. Several spectators were on hand to witness the incident, causing additional traffic delays.

Originally Posted October 15, 2012 11:11 PM

Authorities have confirmed a fire in Warrensburg. The blaze is located in the 400 block of Jefferson Street, near Central Missouri University. A KMZU listener has reported several firetrucks and a helicopter are fighting the flames. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

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