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Investigators say cause of deadly Overland Park fire 'unidentified'

OPFD investigating cause
95 and Outlook Deadly Fire.jpeg
Posted at 3:51 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 15:12:16-04

UPDATE, Sept. 1 | The victim was identified as 51-year-old Julie Ann Peterson of Overland Park.

While investigators believe the fire originated from the kitchen stove, they are unsure if cooking or electrical issues caused the fire, so the cause will be listed as undetermined. There were no working smoke alarms in the unit.

ORIGINAL STORY, Aug. 31 | One woman and a dog have died following an apartment fire Tuesday in Overland Park.

Fire crews responded around 3:20 p.m. to the residence in the 9500 block of Outlook Drive, at the Chalet Condominiums.

Jason Rhodes, Overland Park Fire Department spokesman, said the fire happened in the kitchen.

When crews went inside, they found a woman who had died.

"Crews said that she was obviously deceased upon discovery," Rhodes said. "They checked vitals. It was apparent that resuscitation efforts were not needed."

While the fire itself was fairly minor, there was significant smoke damage in the area.

No other injuries were reported, and damage was only in the "unit of origin," according to a news release.

Rhodes said that most of the time, it's smoke that kills, not fire. He also told KSHB 41 News that crews did not hear a smoke alarm go off as they entered the unit.

He issued a reminder for people to have smoke detectors in their homes and to maintain them.

"Make sure you have and maintain a working smoke alarms," Rhodes said. "They’re going to give you that early warning to get you out before that smoke gets to you, and they’re just the cheapest form of life insurance you can buy."

Those who knew the woman were heartbroken to hear what happened.

"She was a nice, very nice lady," Sage Clemons, her hairdresser, said. "It’s really sad and she had a dog, I guess, in there she just adopted a couple months ago too."

The investigation is underway, and officials at the scene ensured other units were safe before letting other inhabitants back inside.

Rhodes said he didn't believe anyone would be displaced as a result of the fire.

Officials have not yet released the name of the woman, pending family notification.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the day the fire occurred. It has since been corrected.