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Crews battle building fire, high winds in Riverside

Kansas City area remains under red-flag warning
commercial fire in Riverside.jpg
Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 16:37:22-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crews from multiple fire departments struggled to contain a fire that broke out at a commercial building Thursday in Riverside with the Kansas City area at increased fire risk due to high winds and low humidity.

Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker said the fire started in a semi trailer.

Riverside Fire Chief Gordon Fowlston said the flames then jumped a fence and caught a building to the south as well as some dry grass nearby on fire as well.

Skytracker captured flames at Martinrea, an automotive manufacturing company, in the 5200 block of Northwest 41st Street.

Fowlston said when his crews arrived on the scene, two trailers were fully involved.

Thanks to fire hydrants outside and sprinklers inside the building, Fowlston said crews were able to keep the fire outside the facility.

"One of the things we’ve done out in this property area, the Horizons area, is we’ve been really aggressive with the amount of fire hydrants we have on properties," Fowlston said. "Every one of these buildings is sprinkled and everything, which assisted us in actually keeping it outside this particular building."

The Southern Platte Fire Protection District said on Twitter that more than 30 units from its department, the Riverside City Fire Department, the KCMO Fire Department and the North Kansas City Fire Department responded to the commercial building fire.

Fowlston said four to five units would remain on the scene throughout the afternoon to make sure flames were completely extinguished.

Martinrea officials hoped to get back to work with the second shift at 4:30 p.m., but Fowlston said he and his team would make that call based on the amount of smoke that remained in the building.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the metro through 6 p.m. Thursday, warning that any fire could quickly spread due to dry and windy conditions.

Fowlston said those elements definitely impacted this particular fire.

"The wind played into it considerably," he said. "Most of us have all put out warnings about outdoor fires right now. Nothing is ever routine, but this fire normally wouldn’t have probably got as bad as it did if it hadn’t been for 30, 40 mph wind gusts.”

No injuries were reported due to the blaze and the the trailer was holding wooden pallets.