Waldo Heights apartment fire ruled as arson, ATF says; $10K reward offered

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five months later, officials have determined a massive Waldo apartment fire was intentionally set.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Kansas City Police Department announced Wednesday that the Dec. 28 fire at Waldo Heights Apartments was arson. Officials said the fire stemmed from the third floor of the building just before the fire was reported to authorities around 7 p.m.

The ATF said the massive blaze caused an estimated $2.5 million in damages to the building, and dozens of residents were displaced just three days after Christmas. No one died, but several residents were injured when they jumped from the third floor to avoid the fire.

“Having your home destroyed, all your possessions destroyed and really seconds away from very serious injury or death for the people who had to jump from their apartments, that’s certainly a crime that needs to be investigated and somebody needs to be held accountable,” said John Ham, ATF spokesman.

For the first time since 2015, the ATF called in its National Response Team for the investigation.

Along with digging through the building to collect evidence on the cause, investigators held nearly 100 interviews with residents, firefighters, witnesses, 911 callers, and apartment staff along with reviewing video from witnesses and security cameras.

“For a local fire department, local police and a handful of ATF agents, it would have taken weeks and weeks to process that,” Ham said.

Now that they’ve determined a cause, the ATF and KCPD are now offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest of the person responsible for setting the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 or contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS, via email at ATFtips@atf.gov or on the ATF’s website. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by texting ATFKC to 63975.

FOX4 is working to gather more information. We’ll update this story Wednesday afternoon and will have updates on evening editions of FOX4 News.

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