Yesterday, Overland Park, KS experienced an 8 alarm fire that I’m certain tasked all firefighters in the area. What began as a massive fire at an apartment complex under construction ended with expanding to 22 houses on fire.
Fires like this one are not anything new to the fire service. In the past week, Raleigh (NC) experienced a similar loss downtown. The fire in Raleigh went to 5 alarms and included 4 other buildings. My friend Mike Legeros has coverage of the Raleigh fire here.
One other fire that sticks out in my mind is a 5 alarm apartment fire back in 2014 in Houston. The building was massive and included almost 370 apartments. The building was under construction.
I have seen comments about these fires and the need for sprinklers. The problem is that all three of these fires, and others like them, have burned up complexes which are under construction. The sprinkler systems are not operational yet. These wood frame buildings have no fire protection while at this stage of construction.
The Overland Park (KS) fire ended up catching 22 homes on fire. What is unique about homes in the area is they have cedar shingle roofs. While I don’t know if any of the houses had these types of roofs, the wind was definitely a factor in the spread of fire.
Back in 2004, Richmond (VA) experienced a wind driven fire in a massive building under construction which ended up catching 20 other buildings on fire.
Below are videos from the Overland Park, Kansas fire.