KCFD says Historic Northeast home where two men died in fire was missing smoke alarms

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A fast-moving fire left a home in Kanas City’s Historic Northeast gutted, two men inside were killed.  Fire crews believe without two critical mistakes, the tragedy might have been avoided.

The home, in the 400 block of N. Lawndale Ave., is badly charred inside and out, following the blaze, which broke out around 3 a.m. Friday morning.

Grecia Robles and her family woke up to the smell of smoke.

“The whole entire place was like orange. It was orange inside our house.  I was like, is it really that much?  I check outside and it was so much,” said Robles.

Grecia, her two siblings, parents and their pets, panicked and ran outside to safety. They feared their home, just feet away, would burn, too.

“I was scared. I knew my parents work for so much. I thought we were going to lose everything.  It’s really crazy,” Robles said.

And while the family is grateful to be safe and their home standing, their hearts break for their next-door neighbor. When firefighters got here, they found a man covered in soot, who narrowly escaped through an upstairs window then down a tree, and frantically told them his two uncles were trapped inside.

“Our crews made an aggressive interior attack. During our primary search, we located one victim on the second floor and pulled him out. He ultimately was deceased, and after we knocked fire down, we located a second victim,” said Jimmy Walker, Kansas City Fire Department assistant chief.

Both men, who are believed to be brothers in their 60s, died. Investigators think careless smoking is to blame. They also say the home was missing key safety equipment.

“We’re behind the eight ball when we show up and there’s a delayed response. What can stop the delayed response? Smoke detectors. So if we’re alerted sooner, you’re alerted there’s a fire inside your home sooner, we can get out there to reduce the damage,” Walker said.

The names of the men who died have not been released yet.

Neighbors tell FOX4 they are checking all their own smoke alarms to make sure they’re working.  KCFD reminds you they have the devices on hand, which are free to the community.

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