An unexpected kitchen mishap turned into a moment of crisis as fire and smoke filled the top-floor apartment of a complex on Excelsior Street in the heart of downtown Excelsior Springs. Emergency responders rushed to the scene as smoke billowed from the third-floor unit, resulting in one woman and her cat being rescued and all building occupants needing to seek alternative accommodations for the night.
Kat McKown, a resident of the complex, became an unintended hero as she responded to the commotion. McKown said she was in the middle of preparing dinner when a frenzied pounding on her door revealed her neighbor in desperate need of assistance. McKown said, “I answered my door, and she immediately said, ‘Can you please help me put out this fire?’”
The intensity of the situation escalated quickly as McKown and her neighbor were met with what McKown described as “a wall of black smoke” as they began to go up the stairs to her neighbor’s apartment. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, McKown told her neighbor that all they could do was get out and call 911.
The neighbor, described as a young woman in her 20s, insisted on returning to her apartment to save her cat. As the neighbor re-entered the smoke-filled apartment, McKown placed the call to 911, gathered a few precious items, including her own pet dog, and headed out of the building, warning her other neighbors as she went.
Unfortunately, the young woman was overcome by the conditions and required immediate medical attention, resulting in her being taken to an area hospital by ambulance. In a heartwarming twist, the beloved cat was seen being carried to safety by the responding emergency personnel, who assured onlookers that the pet was en route to an animal clinic for evaluation and care.
Excelsior Springs Police said the fire began in the kitchen area of the apartment. They added that occupants of all the other apartments had made it out safely and had made arrangements to stay at other places for the evening.
The incident tonight demonstrates the alarming speed at which a fire can escalate and the threat it poses. The quick actions taken by residents such as McKown, coupled with the rapid response of Excelsior Springs’ emergency teams, played an essential role in preventing more extensive damage and potential loss.