BLUE SUMMIT, Mo. — High winds and dry conditions continue to pose challenges to firefighters, especially overnight in Blue Summit, Missouri.
Plus, for the second time in as many weeks, arson is a possible cause behind a fire — this time sweeping through the children’s section of a cemetery.
A firefighter was also injured during the Inter City Fire Protection District’s response. That firefighter has since been released from the hospital after getting treatment for a dislocated knee, which happened because of a fall.
Fire Chief Jeff Jewell also said — whether or not this was arson — weather conditions are complicating the job for firefighters all over the Kansas City region.
There are still hotspots across the path from grave markers, most for children less than a year old. The fire, reported Wednesday afternoon, swept through the wooded brushy area and burnt everything from grass to trash.
The garbage was evidence of a homeless camp on the outskirts of Lincoln Cemetery, famous for being the burial site of jazz legend Charlie Parker.
“The problem with graveyards, a lot of them, they sink down and firefighters will walk through there, especially when it’s dark, and they step in a sinkhole. It sounds kind of weird, but step in a hole or something, and it blows out a knee or something and ends a career,” Jewell said.
Wednesday’s fire adds another arson investigation for the county. One week ago, six buildings were damaged nearby in what were determined to be intentionally set fires.
But Wednesday’s fire is admittedly more difficult to determine a cause because it likely started on the forest floor.
“We’re still investigating the past fires,” Jewell said.
“We’ve taken some measures, too. Deer cameras or trail cameras — whatever you want to call them — have been put up in high traffic areas that might attract someone to burn,” Jewell said.
There’s also the issue of fatigue.
“We’re 14 firefighters down right now, and four full-time down. So people aren’t getting into this career right now,” Jewell said.
Find out more about becoming a firefighter in the Inter City Fire Protection District here.
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