KC firefighters rescue apartment residents after blaze

Kansas City firefighters rescued several apartment residents, including a woman and child hiding in a closet, after a fire broke out early Thursday.

The 3 a.m. fire at the Stonewood Apartments in the 7600 block of E. 85th Terrace started in a first-floor apartment. It displaced 28 people. Investigators didn’t know the cause.

Firefighters plucked a half-dozen residents from their upper-floor balconies and charged into the smoke-filled building to rescue others, said Battalion Chief James Garrett.

Other residents jumped from their balconies. No serious injuries were reported.

A woman who dialed 911 who could not find her way out of her apartment stayed in her closet and on the phone with dispatchers until firefighters arrived, Garrett said.

“They told her to close the closet door, to keep the smoke out, and wait for firefighters,” Garrett said.

Residents trapped by fire should be careful before opening a window, Garrett said. The fresh air will attract and feed the fire. Instead, he said residents should close the room door, and push rags or clothing under the door to cut off access to the flames.

“The fire needs air to live,” Garrett said, “just like we do.”