KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- An apparent explosion nearly leveled a KCK apartment building and shattered windows throughout the Villa Bella Townhomes complex late Sunday night.
Firefighters were called to the scene at 55th Terrace and Everett Avenue shortly after 11 p.m.
Due to the instability of the structure, a defensive fire attack was set up with a second alarm being called, a collapse zone was established around the structure.
Heavy Rescue and Hazmat was ordered to assist with structural collapse and a strong odor on scene. Surrounding apartments were evacuated and checked for gas levels. BPU and Atmos gas companies were called to disconnect utilities.
Firefighters returned to the scene after 3 a.m. when the fire rekindled.
No one was inside the building at the time of the explosion and fire. Investigators were told it was being renovated.
"Thank God for that because we're all running for our lives. There was no way we could have saved anybody else," said neighbor Rachel Collins, whose apartment and car were damaged by the explosion.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the explosion. Heavy machinery will be used Tuesday to clear debris so they can determine what role natural gas might have played.
"It's very important to have your furnace checked by a professional. I can't stress it enough," Dean Schneider with Anthony Plumbing Heating and Cooling said.