A Lee’s Summit family lost most of their home and its contents in an early morning fire that wakened them as it spread rapidly through their home.
The house of Mike and Nichole Ahlstrom at 713 11th St. was heavily damaged by flames and contents were burned and ruined by smoke and soot.
The fire started at the rear of the house near a dining room and rapidly moved toward the other end of the home where they and a daughter slept, the couple said. It also damaged the exterior of the house immediately to the west.
Nichole Ahlstrom said she heard glass breaking and the security alarm went off.
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“It sounded like to me that somebody had broken into the house,” she said.
She woke her husband who went to look and quickly saw the orange glow of a fire. He warned her to grab their dogs and 8-year-old daughter and get out of the house.
No one was injured.
The Lee’s Summit police department said the fire appeared to originate at a propane grill.
“Once it hit the gas line, it was gone,” Nichole Ahlstrom said. “There’s nothing left, nothing to salvage.”
They have only the pajamas they were wearing, she said, but firefighters did recover a photo album. Her daughter’s bicycle was salvaged and a play set in the backyard was unscathed. Also flowers outside the home survived, including a rare rose hybrid that blooms several colors. “I’m going to transplant that bad boy,” Nichole Ahlstrom said. “You have to look for the silver lining.”
She said their homeowner’s association had put a notice on its website asking for donations from people to help them with necessary items, and they are staying with a neighbor across the street. The timing of the fire is difficult because her father just entered the hospital and they’d been completing a remodeling and were planning to put the house on the market.
Mike Ahlstrom said it took only a couple of minutes to spread through most of the house. The roof is compromised. He said he thinks their wallets with driver licenses and credit cards were in the dining room and lost to the fire.
Lee’s Summit Assistant Fire Chief Jim Eden said the fire was reported at 4:18 a.m. and when the fire department arrived, the single-story home was heavily involved in fire. Initially crews were operating in a defensive mode to fight the fire and protect a house next door. The fire was under control by 4:56 a.m., Eden said.