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Two people trapped in Blue Springs fire are rescued

Updated: 2013-03-01T03:21:46Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

Police broke a window and pulled two trapped people from the basement of a burning Blue Springs home early Thursday morning.

No family members were injured in the fire, which caused an estimated $75,000 damage to the house in the 600 block of Southwest Walnut Street and $30,000 damage to the contents. But three dogs and a cat died.

An extended family of seven adults lives at the house, said assistant chief Eddie Saffell of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

Police were the first to arrive at the fire, which was reported about 2:50 a.m. Four people who live upstairs were outside, and another resident was at work. However, there was confusion about whether the two people who live in the basement had escaped, Saffell said.

When it was determined that they were trapped, police broke a window and pulled them to safety. About 75 percent of the house was damaged by fire, smoke and water.

“There were smoke alarms, but we don’t know if they had been activated,” Saffell said. “They had batteries in them, so we are assuming they were operational.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The rescue of the two people calls attention to the importance of having two ways to exit a basement bedroom, Saffell said. He suggested that even basement game rooms should have two exits.

“This also shows the need to do exit drills and all the stuff we teach kids,” Saffell said. “For a while, we were not sure whether people downstairs had gotten out. We approach things differently if somebody is still inside. Families need to do exit drills and designate where to meet.”

The Star’s Matt Campbell contributed to this report. To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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