KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Fire Department were called to a house fire in the area of NE 45th Street and Chestnut Avenue that killed two people.
Crews were called to the home at about 5:40 a.m. Friday after a neighbor reported smoke coming from the home.
When the fire department arrived, they saw smoke and fire showing from the home.
Fire crews immediately entered the home through the front door and one firefighter fell through the floor.
“We got a firefighter in the basement. Fell through the floor,” a firefighter can be heard saying according to emergency audio captured on Broadcastify. “Call a mayday.”
The firefighter is expected to be OK. His rescue happened rapidly as well as his treatment for burns and bruises, a spokesperson for KCFD said.
The same audio on Broadcastify describes what firefighters encountered inside the burning house.
“All companies. Firefighter down in the basement. Fall through the floor,” scanner traffic said.
“Mayday has been declared. All non-essential, non-emergency traffic has been suspended,” dispatch said in response.
Mayday, explained by KCFD Assistant Chief Jimmy Walker, means ‘firefighter in trouble’.
“Here’s some examples of when you may call a mayday which would be: trapped or entangled and can’t extricate self in 60-90 seconds, lost and can’t find door in 60-90 seconds,” Walker said.
Neighbors of the home at East 45th Street and Chestnut Avenue said they knew the situation was serious.
“With the way the smoke was billowing out there,” neighbor Carrie Brogdon said. “They came and got a ladder off of the truck that was right there. And I guess that was to help get the firefighter out of the basement.”
“They had him on a stretcher and took him to an ambulance that was just right out of where I could see,” Brogdon said.
“We try to train to be calm in every situation,” Walker said. “When a mayday happens people do get amped up because it’s one of our own. It’s one of your friends. So it becomes a high stress situation.”
Walker said firefighters are trained to treat every building as occupied and they might take the higher risk of a mayday situation if someone is seen inside or known-to-be inside.
In Friday’s situation the people inside likely had already passed. Neighbors said they remember the couple fondly.
“Just waved at us you know as everybody went by. It’s really sad and I really hope the best for their family,” Brogdon said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Kansas City Police are working to figure out exactly why it started.