Firefighters used manual ladders to rescue several residents and their pets from a large apartment fire Friday afternoon in Kansas City.
The blaze was reported about 3:20 p.m. in a unit at Harvard Court apartments in the 4000 block of Harvard Circle, which is near Interstate 70 and Sterling Avenue.
Witnesses at the scene said they could see black smoke billowing from a third floor unit while they drove westbound on I-70.
Ryan Mattson and his two dogs were among those rescued. Mattson is not sure what started the fire, but he is thankful for the actions of Kansas City firefighters who helped him and others trapped on their upper floor unit and their animals escape.
Firefighters escorted several tenants and their pets to safety with the use of manual ladders. No injuries were immediately reported.
“I laid down for a nap and my dog started barking and I didn’t hear nothing so I told her to shut up. I was trying to get all of my nap in,” Mattson said shortly after being rescued. “Then I started hearing all of the doors bang in so I got up and started to get dress and that’s when I saw the smoke in my living room.
“About that time firefighters started coming through the door and rescued me and my dogs from the second floor up there.”
Dozens of people were displaced due to the fire, including 20-year-old Kailean Irwin, who was babysitting a niece when the fire broke out. Irwin said she was watching movies in her apartment with three other people when the ordeal began.
Irwin, who lost most of her belongings in the blaze, said a friend alerted her to the smell of burning plastic at least 20 minutes before they saw smoke.
After that, Irwin said, “the fire spread so fast there was no time to save anything.”
Kansas City firefighters were still investigating the cause of the fire Friday.