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Friday, December 30, 2011

Westport Presbyterian Church in KC-MO Burns

Built in 1904- the Westport Presbyterian Church at 40th Street and Westport Road was in fixture as the area around it changed.

A beautiful building as I remember from one Sunday's visit in the 1970's- it served as a somewhat ironic east-end anchor to what would become the popular drinking/entertainment district that appeared in recent decades to the west.

Although the church's congregation dwindled over the years- the church sanctuary and connecting buildings housed many worthwhile community organizations- including a nearly 100-year-old Boy Scout Troop.

So it was with dismay when I heard the first indication of the bad news at 5:27 p.m. Thursday afternoon:  a "1st-alarm" response of eight Kansas City MO Fire companies were sent to the church- whose actual address is 201 Westport Road.

The news only got worse when the first fire truck arrives- "heavy smoke showing from the attic area of a large church" is their report at 5:30 p.m..

(Fire photos courtesy of KSHB-41 NBC Action News)

A 2nd-alarm for five more pumper and ladder companies sounds at 5:33 p.m..

A minute later "heavy fire" had broken through the high-peaked roof of the 2-plus-story structure as an aerial ladder truck on Westport Road rises into the the mild evening air to fight the fire from above and downwind.

At 5:35 p.m.- the scene commander Battalion chief 106- orders all firefighters out of the church- the firefight would be from outside using large streams of water from below and above.

The powerful fire pumps quickly overwhelm the city's aged water mains- causing a reduction in usage of some fire streams.

The fire is declared under control about an hour after the first company arrived- but the roof and interior of the main sanctuary was destroyed and part of an adjoining 2-story office wing was damaged by fire- and a smaller building to the south which housed a daycare was soiled by smoke and water

No injuries were reported as the few occupants in the church at the time evacuated safely.

Many more fire companies would rotate in and out of the fire scene through early Friday- manning hose lines in case still hot embers flared up into flames.

A cause has not yet been determined- but the future of the Westport Presbyterian Church rebuilding in that location remains in doubt.


Superdave said...

Once again guess who was close to this and had no clue. I guess it hadn't broke through the roof yet.

Hate seeing old buildings of local history burn down.

Superdave said...

Be noice to know what company was doing the work on the building?

Not saying they was a bad company accidents do happen but would at least give one reason to watch them a little more on jobs they do after this.