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Investigators say eight-alarm fire in Overland Park was accidental

The day after Overland Park's eight-alarm fire

Overland Park's March 20 fire destroyed one building under construction at College Blvd. and Nieman Road and damaged more than 20 nearby homes. Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said investigators are now working to determine what caused the blaze. This vid
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Overland Park's March 20 fire destroyed one building under construction at College Blvd. and Nieman Road and damaged more than 20 nearby homes. Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said investigators are now working to determine what caused the blaze. This vid

The cause of an eight-alarm fire Monday at the CityPlace development in Overland Park was accidental, fire officials said Tuesday.

A welder working at the site accidentally ignited wooden building materials at a large building under construction, Overland Park Fire Marshal Mark Sweany said Tuesday evening.

Investigators, Sweany said, determined the cause to be accidental.

“Investigators are confident the fire was caused by the accidental ignition of wooden building materials ignited by a welder conducting hot work at the site,” he said.

Monday’s fire — the largest in Overland Park history — destroyed a four-story apartment building, damaged another and affected about 25 households.

The blaze created a nightmare for firefighters and rained flaming chunks of debris on surrounding neighborhoods, sparing some homes and damaging others at random.

Monday’s fire was so large that fire officials said their ultimate goal became ensuring that the fire, which originated near 113th Street and Switzer Road, did not spread past 119th Street. Fire crews tried to stop the spread of such fires by watering down surrounding buildings.

“It was very difficult to tell homeowners that we were making our line in the sand at 119th Street,” Overland Park Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said. “That is hard information to hear.”

Patrols surveyed the neighborhood Monday for fires that might reignite but may not yet have been noticed. Dehner said Tuesday evening that fire operations had ended at the original site, but patrols would continue through the night.

Nobody died or was seriously injured in the fire. Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

Sweany said the Fire Department’s investigation would end Tuesday evening.

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The Star’s Tony Rizzo and Katy Bergen contributed to this report.

Toriano Porter: 816-234-4779, @torianoporter

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