Two firefighters were killed and two hurt after a burning building on Independence Avenue collapsed on them Monday night, Kansas City fire officials said. Firefighters were dispatched to a building in the 2600 block of Independence Avenue about 7:30 p.m. and found the structure heavily damaged by smoke and flames. Fire crews evacuated people from the building, which included apartments. Before the collapse, firefighters on ladders rescued two people from the second story of the building.
While clearing an area with a partially collapsed roof, a further collapse of the structure injured four firefighters. Two of those firefighters died. “This is the worst day,” said Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi. “It’s difficult when you’re with somebody 24 hours a day and laughing and joking and then something like this happens.”
The fire crews moved back to what Berardi called a “defensive mode” after the firefighters were hurt.
Hours later, flames continued to shoot out of the rubble and smoke smothered the neighborhood east of Prospect and Independence avenues.