Mo. apparatus told to 'stand down' moments before crash that killed 3

After several crews were sent to a house fire, a Kansas City dispatcher told Pumper 19 to "remain in quarters"


Robert A. Cronkleton, Matti Gellman, and Bill Lukitsch
The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Moments before a Kansas City fire truck collided with an SUV in a crash that killed three people Wednesday night in Westport, a dispatcher told the truck's crew to "stand down" and "remain in quarters," according to audio recordings from the incident.

The recordings, captured on Broadcastify.com, give details of what led up to the wreck shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at Westport Road and Broadway.

At the time of the crash, the fire truck was headed north on Broadway with its lights and siren activated, said Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department.
At the time of the crash, the fire truck was headed north on Broadway with its lights and siren activated, said Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department. (Photo/Kansas City Fire Department)

The crash killed a man and woman in the Honda SUV and a female pedestrian who was walking on a sidewalk.

At the time of the crash, the fire truck was headed north on Broadway with its lights and siren activated, said Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department.

The SUV was headed west on Westport Road. The force of the crash sent the vehicles careening to the northwest, where they struck a pedestrian on the sidewalk before slamming into the building at 4048 Broadway, police said.

The fire truck, Pumper 19, was among several fire trucks dispatched about 10:20 p.m. on a house fire near 39th Street and South Benton Avenue, according to the dispatch audio.

Firefighters with Pumper 18, which was checking on arcing power lines near the house fire, asked dispatchers if they could be placed on the call and respond to the fire.

"Dispatch, do you want 18 to make that house fire?" a firefighter asked.

"Pumper 18, I will show you on the call," the dispatcher responded.

"Pumper 19 stand down," the dispatcher said. "Pumper 19 stand down, remain in quarters."

The instructions to remain in quarters came within a minute after fire crews were dispatched to the house fire.

About a minute later, a firefighter with Pumper 19 alerted dispatchers that it had been involved in an accident and requested an ambulance, according to the audio.

"Pumper 19, is your apparatus involved?" the dispatcher asked.

"Yes it is," came the response back.

The pumper responds out of Station 19 at 550 W. 43rd Street, which is near Saint Luke's Hospital.

Fire department officials had not responded to questions about the dispatch audio as of Thursday afternoon.

After the crash, at least eight fire trucks and two ambulances responded to the scene. Many remained at the scene overnight as police blocked off several streets surrounding the district. Firefighters could be seen going through the rubble. No firefighters were injured in the crash.

A man and woman were found dead inside the Honda SUV when the car and firetruck were pulled from the building early Thursday. Hours later, rescuers recovered the body of the female pedestrian who was found under the debris from the partially collapsed building.

On Thursday morning, the fire department released a written statement about the crash. "Our hearts, prayers, and thoughts are with the families, friends and loved ones of everyone involved," the statement read.

"As first responders, we are entrusted to respond to incidents and help people, and we are heartbroken by last night's tragic collision. KCFD is cooperating fully with the police investigation and will defer to KCPD for information about that investigation."

Heavy damage occurred at the part of the building once home to the Riot Room, a bar and music venue that only recently closed its doors. The building currently houses offices for the Culinary Virtue Restaurant Collective, a hospitality group that works with restaurants in the Westport area.

Broadway remained closed between 40th Street and Westport Road because the danger posed by the building, which has been deemed unsafe, Foreman said.

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(c)2021 The Kansas City Star

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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