An apartment building fire seriously injured two women and displaced 14 other people Tuesday morning in Smithville.
The 3:30 a.m. grease fire started in a lower-level apartment at Hillside Estates in the 500 block of U.S. 169, said Dave Cline, Smithville Area Fire Protection District deputy chief.
As police arrived, they saw heavy fire and thick smoke pouring from the structure. Fire crews soon arrived and helped police evacuate residents, including some rescued from their apartment windows.
A woman who lived in the apartment where the blaze started tried to use water to put out the grease fire. When that did not work, she carried the burning pan into the breezeway, but that caused flames to spread to the upper floors and attic area.
She suffered burns to her hands and feet. Another woman inhaled smoke. Their conditions were not available, Cline said.
The fast-moving fire caused extensive damage. Some residents were devastated after losing their possessions.
“Now it is all gone. It was all taken away,” said Karen Littleton. “I don’t even know where to begin with this. I was already starting over to begin with. I had nothing when I moved here and now I have nothing.”
Littleton said she heard sirens, went outside and saw the heavy smoke and thick flames. She raced back inside her apartment and helped her daughter outside.
Firefighters from Kearney and Edgerton provided mutual aid. It took fire crews about 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control. No damage estimates were available.
The Star’s Shane Keyser contributed to this report.