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Fire investigators will stop work during Saturday’s memorial service

ATF agents connected straps to a crane Friday as debris was lifted away from the burned-out remains of the building at Independence and Prospect avenues where two firefighters died.
ATF agents connected straps to a crane Friday as debris was lifted away from the burned-out remains of the building at Independence and Prospect avenues where two firefighters died. kmyers@kcstar.com

Investigators of Monday’s deadly fire plan to pause their work Saturday to attend public memorial services scheduled that afternoon for two Kansas City firefighters killed during the blaze.

Those services begin at 2 p.m. at the Sprint Center. Investigators will stop work at 10 a.m. said John Ham, public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“We will shut the scene down for the day out of respect for the Kansas City Fire Department,” he said.

Work will resume at 8 a.m. Sunday.

By Friday morning, investigators had completed an excavation of the building’s collapsed east wall and had begun sifting through debris from the structure’s south wall, facing Independence Avenue.

“In a building this size, with this much damage, we have to divide it up so we are making smart progress,” Ham said.

Investigators are several days away from determining the fire’s likely cause, Ham said.

“But as we are able to progress into the structure, we will get to the point where we can start ruling some things out,” Ham said.

Formal determination of the fire’s likely cause will be made jointly by members of the ATF national response team and Kansas City fire and police department investigators, Ham said.

Brian Burnes: 816-234-4120, @BPBthree

The details

A public memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Sprint Center, with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42 serving as the host. Doors are scheduled to open at 1 p.m., with the service expected to last 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Grand Boulevard will be closed near the Sprint Center, and Truman Road will be reduced to one lane heading west. City officials advise drivers to follow marked detours.

Backpacks, pocket knives, tablets larger than 7 inches, selfie sticks, professional cameras, audio/video recording and outside food and beverages are prohibited.

Dining for Heroes

About 200 restaurants across the area are donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the families of the fallen firefighters. Called Dining for Heroes, the event runs from 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday at participating restaurants and establishments. The proceeds will go to a fund set up through the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and Kansas City Originals Restaurants.

Here is a list of participating restaurants and establishments. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/notes/10153646260688879 or #DiningforHeroes

Family fund

A fund to support the families of fallen firefighters is available through IAFF Local 42. Tax-deductible donations will be given to the families of firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh. Donations can be made by check, payable to IAFF Local 42 and sent to 6320 Manchester Ave., Suite 42A; Kansas City, MO 64133. Sympathy cards may be mailed to the same address.

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