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Body found after house fire, explosion on KCMO's east side

16th & Fremont fire.png
Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 23:17:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A body was found in the rubble of a home that collapsed during a fiery explosion Wednesday afternoon near East 15th Terrace and Fremont Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.

KCFD Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker said the body was found in the rear of the home. It was not clear if the person was male or female.

Crews with the Kansas City Fire Department responded to the fire shortly before 4:15 p.m. and arrived to find the structure already collapsed.

Walker said that crews checked the area to determine if there was a gas leak, but natural gas to the house was turned off Monday, according to Walker. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

For neighbors who live nearby, the incident brought plenty of panic.

“I heard the explosion and felt the explosion,” said Monice Phillips, who lives in the neighborhood. “It kind of felt like maybe somebody had five or six dynamite sticks.”

Moments after the explosion occurred, Kevin Meyers said he ran from his home across the street to help.

“I ran inside to get a chainsaw because there was somebody inside banging to get out,” he said. “By the time I got 911 on the phone to get them out here, the place was fully engulfed.”

Surveillance video captured by a nearby business and obtained by 41 Action News showed the moments the home exploded and caught on fire.

Large flames and heavy smoke were visible as emergency crews arrived.

Hours later, groups of neighbors watched as fire crews went through rubble from the home.

On Wednesday evening, Robert Weber raced to the scene to try and find his friend.

“I got a phone call that said his house burnt down to the ground,” he said. “I’ve been trying to call him but still can’t get ahold of him.”

As of Wednesday night, investigators had not released a name or any information about the victim.

With the cause of the explosion and fire unknown, neighbors said the victim’s death brought plenty of shock.

“I can’t take the explosion out of my head,” said Jaime Botello, who lives nearby. “Dying in a fire is the worst thing that can happen to you.”