KCFD releases report on deadly Oct. 2015 fire

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 19:24:24-04

The Kansas City Fire Department has released the report of its internal investigation into the events of a fire that led to the loss of two firefighters and the injury of two others on October 12, 2015.

Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh were killed when a 100-year-old building collapsed during a fire that was later determined to be an arson. Two other firefighters suffered severe injuries.

“I acknowledge that something went wrong at this fire—two good men died,” said Fire Chief Paul Berardi in the news release. “The purpose of this report is to lessen the likelihood of that happening again. Our deepest obligation is learn where we can make our actions safer and more effective, and to ensure that we share those tragic lessons with firefighters everywhere.” 

The report delivers 14 recommendations including policy development, training procedures, operating guidelines and fire scene accountability.

Click here to read KCFD’s full report

What happened 

According to the internal report, the side of the building initially showed no signs of imminent collapse. Crews had been using the area to get from one side to another. 

Around 8 p.m., a collapse zone was ordered. The incident commander radioed everyone to get out of the area, but not all the firefighters heard the warning. 

At 8:06 p.m. the side of the building collapsed outward, sending debris toward the firefighters in the alley. Leggio, Mesh and two other firefighters were trapped underneath. 

What is changing

Of the 14 recommendations from the internal report, Berardi said several recommendations have already been implemented and work is in progress on the remainder. 

The department has rewritten three of its policies, including the mayday, high-rise and structural collapse policies. Prior to the fatal fire, the fire department did not have a structural collapse policy in place. 

"When we go from an offensive mode to a defensive mode, as we did in this fire seven minutes prior to the collapse, we do a PAR - Personal Accountability Report. We've added that component into our new policy on structural collapse," said Berardi. 

What's next

An independent investigation of the incident will also be reported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health later this year.


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