By Assistant Chief Jim Eden, LSFD

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO— On Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:50 a.m. the Lee’s Summit Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 600 Block of NE English Manor Drive. Several neighbors reported black smoke coming from a front door of the fourplex.

When the fire department arrived, heavy smoke was coming from the front door of Unit D of a two-story fourplex. The occupant of the unit was outside, but was not sure if their roommate was home. All other units were being evacuated.

Fire crews entered the building and knocked down the fire in the living room as other crews searched the building and confirmed there were no other occupants. Investigation of the adjacent units found no fire, only light smoke in unit C. The fire was under control by 11:18 a.m.

Fire damage to Unit D was contained to the area around the fireplace and near the stairs by the front door. The remainder of unit sustained heavy smoke damage. 

An investigator from the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office was called to investigate the fire. It was determined the occupant of the townhome was using gasoline to help light wet logs used in the fireplace. After the fire was lit, vapors from the open gasoline can sitting next to the fireplace ignited, setting the gasoline can and the area around the fireplace on fire. The occupant attempted to remove the burning gasoline can from the house, spilling it, and starting a second fire before getting the can outside. The fire is considered to be accidental.

The three undamaged units of the fourplex were able to be reoccupied. The Red Cross is providing assistance to the displaced occupants of the involved townhome.