LENEXA, Kan. -- Witnesses reported hearing a large boom early Friday morning just before spotting smoke and flames from an apartment building. Fourteen people lost their homes in the blaze at the Park Edge apartments. The fire started at about 2 a.m. just as heavy thunderstorms rumbled through the area.
Luckily, everyone got out of the building safely by the time firefighters arrived as flames quickly engulfed the upper level.
Some neighbors pounded on doors and smoke detectors sounded loudly when rescue crews searched the structure.
After the sun came up, firefighters retrieved belongings for some of the tenants because they say what's left of the building is too dangerous to allow anyone else inside.
"Try to retrieve some of their personal items that they need," said Division Chief Scott Hoch of the Lenexa Fire Department. "That’s what’s important to us right now is to see they are taken care of and get them what they need that’s salvageable from the structure."
Laurie Meyer is grateful that her parents got out safely. Her father often uses a wheelchair to get around and carries oxygen with him to breathe. Fire crews helped retrieve his medicine and sentimental items, like family photos, for the couple.
"Most of the things that were in there that we really needed, my dad has oxygen tanks and things like that," Meyer said. "Medications that he has to have, that are expensive to replace. He cannot live without those. That was the biggest thing."
The Red Cross is helping everyone displaced find temporary shelter. Some of the tenants will be able to move into vacant apartments in the complex.