Fire destroys Vietnam vet's home day after Veterans Day

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - After five years at the Hawthorne Apartments in Overland Park, Kan., Larry Thompson will have to find a new place to live.  A fire gutted the Vietnam veteran's apartment on Monday.

Ten surrounding apartments in his building at 5300 W. 121st Terrace also sustained fire and smoke damage.

The two-alarm fire started just before 9 a.m. Overland Park and Leawood, Kan.,  firefighters responded.

Thompson explained to 41 Action News that he cleaned out his fireplace Sunday night.

"I put the ashes in a bucket and put the bucket on the deck," he said. "This (Monday) morning, I was sitting at the table having breakfast when I noticed the smoke and fire."

Thompson said he tried to put out the fire himself. When he realized he couldn't, he called the fire department and started trying to grab as many of his belongings as he could.

He was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation, and two firefighters also suffered minor burns.

"I'm just thank God that no one was seriously hurt," Thompson reflected. "This stuff can be replaced, but people can't."

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