Suburban Kansas City apartment building fire ignites houses

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:34 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:33 PM


            Firefighters fight an eight-alarm fire that began at an apartment complex under construction and than spread to several nearby homes Monday, March 20, 2017, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A huge fire at an apartment building under construction in suburban Kansas City has sparked fires at several homes blocks away.

The eight-alarm fire broke out about 3:30 p.m. Monday at the multimillion-dollar CityPlace development in Overland Park, Kansas, sending plumes of smoke and embers toward homes in the suburban neighborhood nearby, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/2nLM3Hg ).

Once one roof caught fire, embers jumped from roof to roof, spreading the blaze, said Overland Park Fire Department spokesman Jason Rhodes.

"It's a bit of a war zone down there frankly," Rhodes said. No serious injuries were reported, although one firefighter suffered a minor injury, he said.

Some residents have been evacuated as a precaution.

Neighborhood residents described hearing an explosion before debris fell on houses.

"It sounded like a bomb," said Juan Roque.

Rhodes said it was largest fire he had seen in his 10-year career with the fire department.

"Nothing of this magnitude," he said. "This is big."

When embers started flying through the nearby neighborhood after the fire broke out, residents took their cars out of their garages in case they needed to flee.

"It was unbelievable," said resident Skip Willrett, adding the building where the blaze started is "completely gone."

Fires continued to break out at surrounding houses two hours after the first blaze.

"They're breaking out quickly," Rhodes said. "It's a very active situation."

Rhodes said he saw at least 12 houses on fire, but the number could be greater.

"The wind is not helping us," he added.

Neighboring fire departments are helping the Overland Park Fire Department battle the blazes.

Ken Block with Block Real Estate, the CityPlace developer, said in a statement that they are grateful for all the fire departments for "their heroic efforts."

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with those who are affected and will continue to be affected by this event," Block said.

IHOP waiter says he was offered nursing job after helping feed disabled customer

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 3:51 PM

IHOP restaurant sign in Illinois
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A waiter is getting a lot of attention for feeding a disabled customer at an IHOP restaurant.

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For more than a decade, Joe Thomas, 43, has been working at an IHOP restaurant in Springfield, Illinois.

On Saturday, a couple of his regulars stopped in for breakfast. Thomas knows the woman has trouble eating because of a medical issue.

“I always see him stop eating to feed her, and I was like, ‘Heck, if I’m not doing anything, why don’t I go feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy?’” Thomas told WICS.

He told Buzzfeed News that the woman, identified only as Ma, has Huntington's disease, which makes it difficult for her to use utensils.

“I remember when she was able to walk and feed herself more than she can now,” Thomas told Buzzfeed, noting that he had seen Ma’s condition worsen over the last seven years. “We’ve become good friends, and I’ve grown attached to her. I’m just here to help.”

According to Buzzfeed, Thomas helping Ma eat has become “a standard weekend tradition,” and she usually always orders applesauce, fruit and eggs.

This past weekend, a woman sitting at another table spotted the touching moment and snapped a photo of Thomas’ act of kindness.

She shared the photo with IHOP on Facebook, where it quickly went viral, getting more than 4,500 shares.

Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirksen I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your...

Posted by Keshia Dotson on Saturday, March 25, 2017

The woman who posted the photo said her faith in humanity had been restored that day.

Thomas spent some time reading the comments from strangers around the world, who commended him on his kindness.

“It really felt good for somebody to actually see another person is doing something and take notice,” Thomas said. “It felt good, but at the same time I was like I really don’t care for the recognition too much because it’s just something that should automatically be done regardless.”

Thomas told WICS that since the photo was shared, he has received a job opportunity to become a nurse. It’s unclear if he was offered a caregiver position or if he was encouraged to pursue the training and certification needed for medical positions. 

Read more at WICS and Buzzfeed News.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Human waste found in Coca-Cola cans in Northern Ireland

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:37 PM

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Coca-Cola factory in Northern Ireland halted production last week after human waste was discovered in its soda cans, The Guardian reported. 

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Now police are investigating how this could have happened at the Hellenic Bottling Company. 

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The company said none of the contaminated products made it onto store shelves and they impounded the contaminated cans, according to The Guardian. They noticed the problem when machines at the plant became clogged.

“The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures,” Coca-Cola said in a statement. 

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“This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale.”

Read more at The Guardian

Ivanka Trump will take official White House role as the assistant to the president

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:52 PM

Ivanka Trump (Photo by  Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

After ethics questions were raised about the nature of her role in the White House, Ivanka Trump will officially become an employee of the federal government and will work as the “assistant to the president” for no pay.

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Last week, reports came out suggesting the first daughter would be getting a White House office, security clearance and government-issued phone as an informal adviser without an official job title. Concerns over the unidentified description of her role and potential conflicts of interest prompted Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to send a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.

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“Ms. Trump’s increasing, albeit unspecified, White House role, her potential conflicts of interest, and her commitment to voluntarily comply with relevant ethics and conflict of interest laws have resulted in substantial confusion,” the letter read.

In response, Ivanka Trump provided a statement obtained by The New York Times, in which she addresses the confusion and announced her new position.

“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” she said. “Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”

The White House also addressed the news, with a spokeswoman for President Trump saying, “We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president. Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”

Video captures terrifying Washington state home invasion robbery

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:24 PM

(KIRO7.com)

The Sheriff's office in Snohomish County, Washington, is asking for the public's help to identify two men who robbed an Everett woman on Wednesday morning in her own home.

According to police, the men broke into the home by kicking in the doors.

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Once inside, the two confronted the victim and ripped off her jewelry.

Anyone with information is asked to call at 425-388-5258.