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2-alarm Independence fire injures firefighter; investigation underway

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 23:55:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Independence firefighter suffered minor injuries Wednesday morning while battling a two-alarm fire on U.S. 24 Highway.

Around 10:30 a.m., crews were called to the fire at 10204 E. U.S. 24 Highway in Independence. The first crews on scene reported smoke and fire coming from the building.

A second alarm brought more firefighters to the scene.

A passerby alerted the owner of Los Amigos restaurant, Pedro Diego-Lopez, two doors down

Diego-Lopez told 41 Action News his six-year-old restaurant sat empty today because the fire forced the gas company to shut off his service.

The vacant west side of the building sustained significant damage.

Several businesses sustained smoke damage on the east side of the building.

Fire investigators said they are listing the cause as suspicious because the fire started in the vacant part of the building.

Diego-Lopez says homeless people sleep in the structure at night and that hasn't gone unnoticed by neighbors like Diane Williams.

"I have called the police and so has my other neighbors and they have done their duty come out and say 'you got to get out of here, you can't be in here," Williams said.

Businessowner Lorena Carrion also called police last week when she says the homeless individuals started breaking into her thrift store that was set to open this month.

Carrion believes the homeless got cold and started a fire to stay warm.

The fire caused smoke damage to the business she hopes to open one day.

She is now waiting for the city's guidance on the next steps.