KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at the Keystone United Methodist Church in Waldo Monday morning, with between 75 and 100 firefighters responding to the flames.
Firefighters said someone called 911 to report the fire around 11:15 a.m. When they arrived at West 74th Street and Wornall Road, firefighters found flames or smoke in several areas of the building.
“When we arrived we had heavy dark smoke showing from numerous areas, numerous vents around this whole entire structure,” said Jimmy Walker, Kansas City Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief. “We had no idea the amount of fire that was in the attic space.”
Everyone was already safely out of the church and building’s preschool area by the time firefighters arrived.
“The school was full. All teachers and kids were evacuated very quickly. Once the alarms started to go off they got out very quickly. When we arrived everyone was already out,” Walker said.
Investigators said roofers working on the church accidentally started the fire in the roof of the church. Firefighters could be seen cutting holes in the roof to vent the church. They also fought it from the ground.
“As you can see by the way the building is, it’s complex, it’s large. It’s very old so there’s a lot of void spaces, a lot of cut-up areas, so that made identifying where the fire was difficult,” Walker said.