KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at the Keystone United Methodist Church in Waldo Monday morning, with between 75 and 100 firefighters responding to the flames.
Firefighters said someone called 911 to report the fire around 11:15 a.m. When they arrived at West 74th and Wornall Road, firefighters found flames or smoke in several areas of the building.
“When we arrived we had heavy dark smoke showing from numerous areas, numerous vents around this whole entire structure,” KCFD Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Walker said. “We had no idea the amount of fire that was in the attic space.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Walker said they believe they know how it started.
“We have an idea. Cause is still under investigation ’til we’re 100% sure. I’m not going to release that cause, but there was some roof work going on and the fire did originate in the area where construction was,” Walker said.
Everyone was already safely out of the church and building’s preschool area by the time firefighters arrived.
“The school was full. All teachers and kids were evacuated very quickly. Once the alarms started to go off they got out very quickly. When we arrived everyone was already out,” Walker said.
Investigators said the fire started in the roof of the church. Firefighters could be seen cutting holes in the roof to vent the church. They also fought it from the ground.
“As you can see by the way the building is, it’s complex, it’s large. It’s very old so there’s a lot of void spaces, a lot of cut up areas, so that made identifying where the fire was difficult,” Walker said.