Wind fuels 3-alarm fire at Shawnee apartment complex
Massive fire destroys Shawnee apartment building
High winds quickly fueled a Shawnee apartment fire from a small flame to a blaze that engulfed an entire building and threatened others Thursday evening. The fire was reported about 7:15 p.m. at the Hampton Woods apartment complex, near 67th Street and Renner Road. Firefighters believe all residents got out safely.
High winds quickly fueled a Shawnee apartment fire from a small flame to a blaze that engulfed an entire building and threatened others Thursday evening.
Firefighters evacuated residents from three nearby buildings but were able to protect them from the flames, Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox said. The destroyed building has about 20 apartments, he said, and the American Red Cross was helping displaced residents.
No residents were hurt, Mattox said, but several reportedly feared pets may have perished.
The fire was reported about 7:15 p.m. at the Hampton Woods apartment complex, near 67th Street and Renner Road. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames near the ground level.
"It didn't take but a couple minutes for that first floor to collapse into the lower level," Mattox said.
Two fire crews that were inside retreated, and firefighters began battling the fire defensively, from outside the building, Mattox said.
"All fires are dangerous, but tonight the wind dictated everything," Mattox said.
With each heavy gust of wind, flames and smoke burgeoned larger from the burning building. Sparks and embers floated downwind.
At 9 p.m., firefighters continued to pump water on at least one neighboring building to prevent it from catching fire. They had large flames mostly knocked down by 10 p.m., but Mattox said crews would continue to battle and monitor the fire throughout the night.
Jared Thornburg, who lives one of the evacuated buildings, watched as firefighters poured water on the corner where his apartment is. Thornburg said he went outside when the fire was first reported in the building next door.
“It was a tiny, little fire in the bottom apartment over there,” he said. “… and it went up.”