Man trapped in apartment fire jumps from balcony, others suffer smoke inhalation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Rescue crews rushed four people to the hospital early Monday morning following an apartment fire on the city’s east side. At 44th and Montgall, neighbors say they could hear people inside the burning building yelling for help.

There were some scary moments for witnesses as they say they couldn’t do much but stand by helplessly while their neighbors were trapped inside the upstairs apartment.

Jacob Lohr says when he saw smoke and fire erupting from the balcony, he tried to go inside to get people out before firefighters arrived. He says he saw the front door open and then slam shut after flames started to shoot through the opening.

“I had to yell at the police, because the police, right after they stopped me, they just started driving down the road and we’re like, ‘Hey, there’s somebody in there!'” Lohr said.

Investigators say the fire started on the second floor front porch of the building just before 1 a.m. Witnesses tell FOX 4 News the people living here are known for having block parties and barbeques to get to know everyone in the neighborhood.

Christine Griffin called 911 and says she could hear her neighbors crying for help. She could feel heat coming from the building a couple of doors down. It was so hot that she says she couldn’t get close enough to go inside.

“The fire dept came and that’s when people started coming out,” Griffin said. “I know one was taken to the ambulance up the street that came out. He came out with the firefighters. It was just nuts. It was just crazy because we had just been out here 10 or 15 minutes before that having a cigarette on the front porch and then we hear banging on the house and the house is all messed up.”

One person jumped from a second floor window before firefighters arrived. Witnesses say he was limping and is hospitalized with minor injuries. Three others are in the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation. Firefighters rescued a fifth person from the burning apartment.

The Red Cross is providing hotel rooms for at least two people who used to live in the building.

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