A 49-year-old woman died Tuesday morning from injuries in a fire that melted smoke detectors off the wall of a Kansas City house.
The woman’s 50-year-old boyfriend also was hurt, apparently while climbing out of a bedroom window of the burning home in the 5800 block of Wabash Avenue.
Family members, who also live in the block, identified the victim as Kimberly Price, although authorities haven’t confirmed the woman’s identity.
The fire, which started in the kitchen, is being blamed on unattended cooking, and it caused about $50,000 in damage to the house and its contents.
The blaze had largely burned itself out by the time firefighters arrived about 4:35 a.m., said Battalion Chief Lew Hendricks, of the Kansas City Fire Department.
Fire crews found the boyfriend wandering around the front of the house, Hendricks said.
Rescuers entered the house and found Price about seven feet inside the door. They tried to resuscitate her in the front yard and then rushed her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Fire investigators and police interviewed the boyfriend to try to determine how the fire started and what woke him.
The smoke detectors were so damaged from the fire that it was unclear whether they had been working, Hendricks said.
The man told police that when he went to bed about 11:30 p.m. or midnight, Price was watching television on the sofa. He went to one of the bedrooms and closed the door. Something woke him, Hendricks said, and when he felt the door, it was hot. He escaped out the window.
By mid-morning family members, some of whom live across the street or just doors down, were milling around the house with neighbors and friends.
Alvin R. Price II, the victim’s brother, lives across the street from the burned home. He didn’t notice anything wrong when he left to buy cigarettes early Tuesday, but firefighters and police were pulling up when he returned.
“I was gone maybe 10, 15 minutes tops at the store,” Price said.
Price said his sister and her companion have a 16-year-old son, who was not home at the time of the fire.
“She was a great person — a humanitarian,” Price said. “She always cared about people. That’s what is so hurting about it — a good person and to die in such a tragic way.”
This is Kansas City’s second fatal fire in the past week. On Wednesday, a father and two children died when flames swept through their south Kansas City home.
Hendricks stressed that homeowners and apartment dwellers need to make sure they have working smoke detectors.