A residential fire in Parkville left residents scrambling to extinguish the blaze before they called authorities on Sunday morning.
A stand alone four-plex at 6301 NW Casper Drive managed by River Oaks Apartments caught fire at 10:20 a.m. when four people were inside. A mother, two small children, and a visitor were able to escape without injuries.
“The whole apartment is a total loss and has to be gutted,” said Southern Platte County Fire Marshal Dean Cull. “It was the upstairs apartment that caught fire and the downstairs residence also had significant water damage, as well as smoke damage in the common attic. We had to cut a ventilation hole in the roof to let the smoke out.”
The smoke detector worked immediately, and the renter checked the kitchen first before looking for the source in the rest of the apartment. Her two children, ages 3-4, were found playing in their bedroom closet while the alarm sounded. The visitor grabbed the children and ran outside, while the woman made three trips to the fire-engulfed closet carrying two full water pitchers attempting to control the flames. When she failed, she decided to exit the structure for her own safety to call 911.
The nearest fire station is located less than two blocks from the apartment, so authorities arrived quickly. Two pumper trucks and one ladder truck responded to the fire, including 15 firemen who were able to control the fire in 20 minutes. The apartment is valued at $350,000 and the loss amounted to $275,000. Cull said the fire is still under investigation.
“The room of origin was the bedroom closet where the kids were playing,” Cull said. “This fire was set by human hands, whether intentionally or not. The occupants said the 4-year-old boy has been caught playing with a lighter in the past and had it taken away from him. We know there were lighters within the kids’ reach, so this scenario has not been ruled out.”