Two young children were killed and several others were injured when fire swept through their apartment building early Tuesday in Overland Park.
The children’s mother and three men from another apartment were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries in the fire at Colonial Gardens Apartments, 8845 Broadmoor Court, according to Jason Rhodes, a spokesman for the Overland Park Fire Department.
Two of the injured men reportedly jumped from the second floor to escape the blaze.
Fire investigators are looking into whether there were working smoke alarms in the apartments. They have received conflicting reports, Rhodes said.
The fire was reported shortly before 2:30 a.m. at the apartment complex.
While firefighters were in route, there were reports of victims being trapped inside the burning building so a second alarm was called, Rhodes said.
The first firefighters on the scene reported seeing heavy smoke and fire coming from the front and back of the two-story apartment building.
Firefighters found burn victims outside the building.
As paramedics began treating the burn patients, firefighters began an aggressive search and fire attack, Rhodes said.
Firefighters found two children, who were 3 and 5 years old, dead, Rhodes said.
The mother had sustained minor burns and smoke inhalation. Two of the men had severe burns. The other man had minor burns.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital as a precaution for treatment of heat-related problems. Another firefighter was evaluated at the scene.
It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the blaze. Four of the 12 units in the apartment building were damaged by the fire, but the entire building has been evacuated.
A building inspector was evaluating the damage to the building to determine whether some of the residents could safely return to their apartments, Rhodes said.
The American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City was assisting as many as 20 residents who were displaced by the fire.
Investigators began their investigation into the cause of the fire and whether there were working smoke alarms. The fire appears to have started in one of the first floor apartments and spread upward to the second floor, Rhodes said.
Fire officials said they have not found anything suspicious about the fire at this point. Investigators, however, were just beginning their physical investigation, which included bringing in a dog to check for the possible use of accelerants.
Firefighters from Overland Park, Johnson County Consolidated Fire District. No. 2 and Leawood fire departments battled the overnight blaze.