KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An overnight fire at an apartment complex in Kansas City that sent 15 people to the hospital Friday morning was arson.
“All of our investigators spent the day in there and we have determined that this is a set fire,” John Ham, Senior Investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said.
According to the Kansas City Fire Department, nine children and six adults were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, burns or both.
Two of the children are in critical condition and five adults are in serious condition.
The call came in at about 12:34 a.m. at the Stonegate Meadows Apartments. Fire was visible from the first and second floor.
Firefighters from a station several blocks away responded to the fire in a matter of minutes.
People were seen jumping from the second floor to escape. Stairs and fire escapes were also on fire. Fire crews were in rescue mode immediately upon arrival and pulled residents from balconies.
“You can imagine the horrifying feeling of all the parents with kids in this building when they opened the door and there’s just a wall of fire,” Ham said.
Investigators said the predominant damage is located in hallways and staircases.
“Obviously that’s a problem if the structure you live in is on fire and you’re trying to get out. So that is going to account for some of those 15 injuries and the burns and smoke inhalation,” Ham said.
The building did have smoke detectors, but investigators are still working to determine if they worked to warn people inside the building. Investigators also don’t know yet if the hallway or stairwell had smoke alarms.
The ATF said there is a $5,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest in the arson. Call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS if you have any information that can help investigators solve the case.
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