Evening grilling sets wooden deck ablaze, damaging Merriam house

A propane tank for an outdoor barbecue grill caught a Merriam house's wooden deck on fire Sunday evening.

The fire was reported about 7:20 p.m. Sunday in the 9700 block of West 56th Terrace.

Firefighters from Overland Park and Shawnee fire departments responded to the scene and the first arriving crews reported seeing smoke and fire coming from the back of the single-family home, according to a release from the Overland Park Fire Department.

The residents told fire investigators that they had just started the grill when the fire spread from the propane tank to the house. They called 911 and began evacuating.

Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control, but not before the fire damaged the back of the house and spread into the kitchen. Some of the fire also made its way up into the attic above the kitchen.

In addition to that damage, the upper level of the house sustained moderate smoke damage. The residents stayed with neighbors overnight, according to Overland Park Fire Department.

Everyone was able to get out safely. Firefighters also were able to get two cats out unharmed.

Although the exact cause is still under investigation, fire officials believe that the propane tank is to blame.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb