Kansas City, MO Apartment Fire, Apr 1981


Kansas City, Mo. (UPI) - A fast-moving fire swept through a high-rise apartment building early today, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 25 others, authorities said.
When firefighters arrived at the 10-story Westport Central Apartments, "there was no way in but by ladder," a Fire Department spokesman said.
Fire Chief Edward Wilson confirmed at least eight people died in the blaze. Twenty-seven others were reported injured in area hospitals, with at least six in critical condition.
Wilson said the fire, which was reported at 3:10 a.m. EST, started in the office lobby and flames spread quickly through the building.
The stairs "acted as flues," and the "hallways loaded up very quick (with smoke)," said Deputy Chief Charles Fisher.
He said one quarter of the 184 people were removed from the building he said contained smoke detectors.
Firefighters made a room-to-room search of the building, searching for people trapped in their apartments. At least one resident was trapped in an elevator.
Fisher said three hours after the fire began, officials were "sill loading them in back (of the building)."
Earlier, as firefighters were bringing the blaze under control, he said one body was found in a rear parking lot of the building, another on the grass, one in an elevator, one each on floors three, five and nine.
"There were no jumpers," he said, adding the victims found outside the building probably were pulled from their apartments by firefighters.
He described the conditions of some of the injured taken to hospitals as "iffy."
At least six of the injured taken to Truman Medical Center were said to be critically injured. Many of the other injured, taken to area hospitals including St. Luke's and St. Mary's were treated for smoke inhalation.

Tyrone Daily Herald Pennsylvania 1981-04-17

Some of the casualties:
DEBBIE McGRATH, 23, assistant manager, found in elevator.