At least 11 people were transported to the hospital with serious injuries after a fire started in a second floor apartment at the Paraclete Manor Apartments off Swope Parkway around noon on Saturday.
The fire was contained to the apartment but caused thick, heavy smoke to rise through the apartment’s upper floors, causing little visibility on the second, third, fourth and fifth floors of the 163-unit apartment complex for senior citizens. The Kansas City Fire Department gradually evacuated the building, and emergency crews gave residents medical attention and water on the sidewalks outside.
Because of smoke, water and electrical damage, some residents were not able to return to their homes at Paraclete Manor, Battalion Chief Jimmy Walker said. He said that emergency crews were forced to cut power to the entire building because of damaged wiring, and the second floor’s alarm system also was destroyed.
Later, he said, power was restored to some of the building’s upper floors, and officials weren’t sure how many people would be displaced for the night.
“We’re trying to work with individuals and we have the Red Cross on its way,” Walker said on Saturday afternoon. “It will take hours to sort through.”
On Saturday afternoon, emergency responders worked to get medications for residents out of the building. Some residents chose to stay with relatives. The Red Cross was on its way to help find lodging for other residents, Walker said.
In addition to those taken to the hospital, others were treated on the scene. Authorities could not speak to what had caused the fire, which fire officials responded to shortly after noon.
Al Manning, 62, was in his apartment on the eighth floor when he heard fire alarms. Later, he was evacuated from his apartment by fire officials.
“There was some visible smoke, but not that much,” said Manning. “The smell of burning was pretty intense.”
A resident of Paraclete Manor for the past six years, Manning said he was hoping to get back to his apartment soon and wasn’t sure what he would do if he couldn’t return.
“This is it for me,” he said. “It’s my home.”