ATF helping to investigate massive fire at Waldo Heights apartments

The investigation continues into what caused a massive blaze at the Waldo Heights apartments Monday in Kansas City.Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from across the country are headed to Kansas City to help determine what caused the fire and whether the circumstances are suspicious.”There was some absolutely heroic firefighting by the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department last night,” said John Ham, spokesman for the Kansas City ATF.As daylight broke, work began to figure out what caused the fire”We start with everything on the table as a possible cause,” Ham said.Ham said the Kansas City ATF is working with the fire department and the police department’s bomb and arson squad. The ATF’s national response team has also been called in.”That team is made up of fire investigators with collectively hundreds and hundreds of years of experience,” Ham said. “We have forensic chemists, forensic engineers, electrical engineers.”He said they’re being tapped because of the size and complexity of the fire.”Just because we’re bringing in the national response team doesn’t mean that we believe it to be a set fire, but that’s certainly one of the things that are on the table,” Ham said.Patrick Williamson lives in another building at the complex.”We were seeing embers flying over our heads, hitting the building behind us,” Williamson said.He said he also noticed a challenge for emergency crews.”There were firemen, firefighters running all around just searching for fire hydrants,” Williamson said.The fire department said it’s typical for older construction to have fewer hydrants and that they had to use around 1500 feet of hose line to get water on the flames.Police say there was a disturbance call Monday night before the fire started. Right now, they cannot say whether they believe it’s related to the fire. The ATF’s national response team is expected to be on site Wednesday morning.The Red Cross is helping 30 families that lived inside the apartments. Officials said 33 people are sleeping at 16 different hotel rooms.”There’s so much stress going on when you have a life event like this, so we try to offer as much empathy as we can and try to get immediate assistance as quickly as we can,” said Scott Riggs, of the American Red Cross.Waldo Heights required families to have renter’s insurance, which should help with housing and replaced damaged items.Charities like Salvation Army are stepping up to fill in the gaps both short and long term.”Nobody knows when an entire apartment building in Kansas City is going to go up in flames. But when it does, the donations we receive mean that we can be there to help folks not just with the necessities they need today but with longer term re-housing tomorrow,” said Doug Donahoo, of the Salvation Army.

The investigation continues into what caused a massive blaze at the Waldo Heights apartments Monday in Kansas City.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from across the country are headed to Kansas City to help determine what caused the fire and whether the circumstances are suspicious.

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“There was some absolutely heroic firefighting by the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department last night,” said John Ham, spokesman for the Kansas City ATF.

As daylight broke, work began to figure out what caused the fire

“We start with everything on the table as a possible cause,” Ham said.

Ham said the Kansas City ATF is working with the fire department and the police department’s bomb and arson squad. The ATF’s national response team has also been called in.

“That team is made up of fire investigators with collectively hundreds and hundreds of years of experience,” Ham said. “We have forensic chemists, forensic engineers, electrical engineers.”

He said they’re being tapped because of the size and complexity of the fire.

“Just because we’re bringing in the national response team doesn’t mean that we believe it to be a set fire, but that’s certainly one of the things that are on the table,” Ham said.

Patrick Williamson lives in another building at the complex.

“We were seeing embers flying over our heads, hitting the building behind us,” Williamson said.

He said he also noticed a challenge for emergency crews.

“There were firemen, firefighters running all around just searching for fire hydrants,” Williamson said.

The fire department said it’s typical for older construction to have fewer hydrants and that they had to use around 1500 feet of hose line to get water on the flames.

Police say there was a disturbance call Monday night before the fire started. Right now, they cannot say whether they believe it’s related to the fire. The ATF’s national response team is expected to be on site Wednesday morning.

The Red Cross is helping 30 families that lived inside the apartments. Officials said
33 people are sleeping at 16 different hotel rooms.

“There’s so much stress going on when you have a life event like this, so we try to offer as much empathy as we can and try to get immediate assistance as quickly as we can,” said Scott Riggs, of the American Red Cross.

Waldo Heights required families to have renter’s insurance, which should help with housing and replaced damaged items.

Charities like Salvation Army are stepping up to fill in the gaps both short and long term.

“Nobody knows when an entire apartment building in Kansas City is going to go up in flames. But when it does, the donations we receive mean that we can be there to help folks not just with the necessities they need today but with longer term re-housing tomorrow,” said Doug Donahoo, of the Salvation Army.