Overland Park firefighters rush to save two people trapped on second floor of group home during blaze

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Firefighters in Overland Park rescued two people from a burning house overnight. The fire happened at a house at 141st and Parkhill - near 143rd and Pflumm, ignited by a cigarette butt

Fire officials say the group residential home did have working smoke detectors, causing people inside to wake up, but some who live there couldn't escape the fire without help.

“I woke up this morning to sirens, looked out the window and saw a bunch of bright lights, came running outside,” said Kim Vaccaro, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out.

“Ran back inside, got my family out, because I didn’t know what was actually happening at that point, so I wanted them to all get out of the house.”

Shortly after midnight, Vaccaro, her husband, two teenagers, and their dog all came outside to see what was happening.

“The firemen had taken out the screens, and smoke was coming out very rapidly,” Vaccaro described.

Five men with disabilities live in the home. The men, along with a caretaker, were inside sleeping when fire started in the back of the house.

“The caretaker over there had brought a couple over,” Vaccaro said. “He was laying on the lawn with one of the more severely disabled boys. He was really good actually, he was really attentive to them, and then also the firemen came and they were trying to help these boys, because they were really confused, they didn’t really know what was going on.”

Four of the men escaped the fire.

“They seemed pretty cold, a couple of them didn’t have shoes, so I ran back inside, got some blankets, got some shoes, brought them back out,” Vaccaro added.

But two were trapped inside on the second floor. Firefighters rushed up the stairs and pulled them out as other firefighters battled the flames in the back of the house.

“We brought out some lawn chairs, and we did check them out in our driveway here, and I think it was decided at that point they would just send them to the hospital to make sure everything was okay with them,” Vaccaro said.

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is responsible for issuing licenses to providers that support people receiving services on the Intellectual/Developmental Disability waiver. KDADS works with the Community Developmental Disability Organizations to ensure quality of affiliated providers.

Life Centers is fully licensed by the state and is in good standing with Johnson County’s CDDO. All five men who live in the home have found temporary housing.

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