KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After investigating, the Kansas City Fire Department says its firefighters didn’t douse a homeless man in water while responding to a small fire this week.
Phil Bucalo told FOX4 that KC firefighters came to put out his campfire early Tuesday morning near the underpass at 20th and Oak streets. When they did, he said they intentionally flooded him and his belongings.
“I said, ‘This isn’t necessary. This thing isn’t this big. I can put it out in 5 minutes if you want it put out,'” Bucalo said Wednesday.
The homeless man said it was a frigid night and the fire was his means of keeping warm.
On Wednesday, the department confirmed they put out a campfire at that location at 2 a.m. Tuesday and that they were investigating Bucalo’s account of firefighters’ response.
On Friday, KCFD said in a statement that officials interviewed every firefighter who responded to the fire about what happened, along with KC police who were on scene.
The agency said its crews didn’t violate any department policies or expectations and they didn’t spray anyone with water.
But KCFD said one man at the scene was asked to moved while crews worked to put out the fire, and some personal belongings got wet. The department said it’s common for personal property to get wet when a fire is extinguished.
In its release, KCFD said it tries to educate people about these types of fires. The department pointed to several recent fires, including one under a bridge on Beardsley Road that has left that road closed since November. In January 2018, a homeless person died in a fire at a nearby homeless camp, KCDF said.
“When informed of illegal burning at such locations, we take action as necessary to extinguish the fire and abate the threat to life, property and infrastructure,” the department said.