7 Kansas City FFs injured during rapidly growing, multi-alarm fire
FD spokesperson: “We are going to be out here a few more hours” describing the the Mo. pallet company fire
By Robert A. Cronkleton
The Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Firefighters on Thursday were battling a large multi-alarm blaze at a pallet company in Kansas City’s East Bottoms, according to the Kansas City Fire Department.
The fire was reported shortly after noon Thursday at the Pioneer Pallet Brokerage Co. at 3526 Nicholson Avenue, according to Jason Spreitzer, a spokesman for the fire department.
The fire engulfed materials both inside and outside the building. Black, billowing smoke was visible for miles from the blaze, which is east of downtown Kansas City.
Everyone was able to escape from the fire safely, Spreitzer said. Seven firefighters, however, were treated for heat exposure or burns, including three who were taken to the hospital.
Initially, two command vehicles along with four pumper trucks, four ladder trucks and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene of the blaze, according to audio of radio traffic captured by Broadcastify.com.
“This is a lumber yard and then we have a third caller saying the warehouse is on fire,” the dispatcher told responding units. She advised that there were fire hydrants all along Nicholson Avenue.
“All companies responding, evacuation is in progress,” the dispatcher said. “There are reports of that the gates are open to the building. Again they are saying this is a trailer on fire outside of the building. Then we got the warehouse is on fire.”
The first firefighters on the scene reported heavy fire showing from the back of the building as well as a large propane tank that was bleeding off. The firefighter then advised there was heavy fire all around building, according to the audio.
At 2:15 p.m., firefighters were still working to extinguish the blaze, Spreitzer said.
“We are going to be out here a few more hours,” he said.
Ladder trucks were spraying large amounts of water from above down onto the fire. As they battled the fire, four alarms were sounded to send extra firetrucks along with manpower and equipment to battle the blaze.
Edy Esquivel, who has worked at the pallet factory for two years, said there are about 21 people who work there.
The fire started on the west side and moved to the factory area, he said. It then spread to the east side where more pallets were stacked.
“Everyone was yelling fire. Fire! Let’s go!” he said. “And we just started running.”
A regional pollution monitor in the downtown area picked up a small increase of particles in the air from the fire, the Mid-America Regional Council said on Twitter. It’s air quality program was monitoring the air quality as a result of the fire and would continue to track any increase in particulate matter in the air.
Star photographer Nick Wagner provided some information for this story.