Smoker falls asleep, starts house fire

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – A fire Monday night that destroyed a home and led to three firefighter injuries was caused after one of the home’s occupants fell asleep while smoking, according to a Fire Department news release.
Emergency crews responded to the call at 10:12 p.m. at 405 Jefferson St., a three-story home that had been converted to apartment uses.
Oxygen cylinders in apartment No. 2, some of which exploded, intensity of the fire, according to the news release. Four fire engines and one ladder truck were used to keep flames from spreading to nearby structures.
“Fire investigators determined through scene examination and witness statements that the fire reportedly occurred when one of the occupants of apartment No. 2 fell asleep while smoking,” according to the news release. “The occupant woke up and found flames burning next to her. She reportedly attempted to extinguish the flames by pouring water on them. Fire investigators believe the delay in reporting the fire contributed to the extensive flames that were present when the first police and fire units arrived at the scene.”
No residents were injured in the blaze. “It is unusual to have that much fire in a building without anyone getting injured,” Fire Chief Phil Johnston said.
Two Warrensburg firefighters sprained their ankles on the uneven terrain at the scene. A third firefighter’s medical condition was exasperated by exposure to the heat and exertion. All three firefighters were treated and released from Western Missouri Medical Center.
American Red Cross personnel made arrangements to assist the victims with temporary lodging and other short-term needs. A fire engine and crew remained throughout the night to ensure the fire was extinguished.
Crews from the Warrensburg Fire Department, Warrensburg Police Department, University of Central Missouri Department of Public Safety and Johnson County Ambulance District responded to the structure fire.