Apartment blaze ignited by fireplace ashes left on deck

A fire — traced to the improper disposal of fireplace ashes —burned through a second-story apartment in the Hawthorne on the Lake apartment complex in Overland Park on Monday morning.

Overland Park Fire Department spokesman Jason Rhodes said the unit where the fire began is destroyed.

“They knocked it down fairly quickly,” he said of the hour it took firefighters to put out the blaze at West 119th Street and Nall Avenue. “But we do have heavy fire damage.”

One person, whom Rhodes said was likely in the apartment at the time the fire started, was treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene. Two firefighters were also treated there for spot burns on their necks.

The Leawood Fire Department also responded to the call, which came in around 9:20 a.m.

An hour and a half after it began, firefighters were checking the attic space above the apartment to make sure there was no damage to the attics above other apartments. A garage sits below the damaged unit.

A resident later told investigators he had used his fireplace on Sunday, cleaned it out Monday and placed the ashes in a plastic container on the deck of his apartment. The smoldering embers ignited and the fire spread up the side of the building and into the attic.