An unoccupied Overland Park apartment complex caught fire on Monday afternoon. The complex was under construction and is located at the intersection of College Boulevard and Nieman Road.
The fire destroyed one four-story complex and damaged another one at the CityPlace development.
The initial fire spread to homes in the surrounding area as the wind blew embers onto their roofs, damaging an estimated 22 houses, but that number could increase as the investigation goes on. The incident is currently classified as an eight alarm fire.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries due to the fire and are now in stable condition.
The college sent out multiple alerts Monday evening asking students and faculty to stay away from the affected area and to alert students that classes were not being cancelled due to the fire.
The investigation into the cause of the fire began Tuesday morning. Investigators will be looking to see if the dry air and warm weather could have started the fire or if something in the construction site created the blaze. Arson is not believed to be a cause for the fire at this time.
Residents who were affected were asked to go to Christ Lutheran Church near 119th Street and Nieman Road to talk to investigators and get set up with hotel rooms. It is not clear when those whose homes were damaged will be allowed back into the neighborhood.
At the moment there is a police perimeter located from Indian Creek Parkway and 119th, heading east. This is being done as the fire task force carries out their investigation, however there is no criminal investigation underway.
Power has been restored to houses in the surrounding areas. Overland Park Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said that the current priority is assisting residents whose homes have been affected in getting stability back in their lives.
– Campus Ledger Editor-in-chief Nell Gross and managing editor Carina Smith contributed to this report.