One resident is confirmed dead after local police, paramedics and firefighters responded to a 911 call to a multi-family condominium complex located at Carmel Woods Drive off Kiefer Creek Road, adjacent to Bluebird Park on April 9. Metro West Fire Protection District firefighters were called to a fire and reports of individuals trapped inside a residence.
Responders first arrived around 11:30 a.m. and confirmed one fatality, Patrick Hurley, 55, who resided at 325 Carmel Woods Road. The unit was reported to have been on fire.
About 74 firefighters from five different agencies responded to control the fire, which burned for over an hour.
According to Mike Krause, chief of fire and EMS services for the Metro West Fire Protection District, the blaze was already in an advanced state by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
“Upon arrival, the first units encountered heavy fire, heavy smoke and one victim that was a fatality …,” Krause said.
The victim’s identity has yet to be released, but neighbors at the scene said the victim was a male in his late 40s to 50s and may have worked at a local vehicle dealership. Due to the fatality of the victim’s injuries, no medical care was given at the scene. The victim was also not transported for medical care. Both the cause of death and the fire are still under investigation by Metro West, Ellisville Police, the State of Missouri Division of Fire Safety Fire Marshal’s Office and St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson. However, it was confirmed that the condominiums were equipped with smoke alarms that did sound in response to the fire. A suppression system was not present and not required in this facility, according to an official release by Metro West Public Information Officer Mike Thiemann.
Krause confirmed that, upon arrival, the victim was found deceased on the concrete patio below one of the complex’s windows. An official release stated that it’s believed the male victim fell from a third-floor window.
It is unclear whether that person died from the flames, the smoke or the fall. Fightfighters were unable to say if the man accidentally fell, jumped from the ledge, or passed out.
Witnesses said the victim who died was yelling and trying to escape out a window before falling three stories and injuring his head.
No other residential injuries or fatalities were reported. Two Metro West firefighters were transported to Mercy for burns sustained during firefighting operations but were treated and released the same day.
About four to five units were evacuated by local law enforcement officers, who were the first on the scene. The damage from the fire was not limited to the victim’s residence. According to Krause, there was fire damage to two other units and smoke damage gradually on both neighboring sides of the primary fire building.
Rick and Cheryl Klockenbrink, who live in one of the neighboring units, called 911 to report the fire upon discovering smoke and flames coming from windows and doors next-door. The couple has lived in the complex for 44 years.
“There was this really weird sound, I thought it was sleeting at first,” Cheryl Klockenbrink told West Newsmagazine. “I went to call 911, but [Rick] was already on the phone.”
Volunteers from the Red Cross was on-site providing snacks and water to displaced individuals, and will also assist with temporary lodging.