On the evening of Oct. 12, 2015, KCFD suffered the loss of two firefighters during a second alarm response to a combined commercial and residential structure at approximately Independence Avenue and Prospect.
Multiple units were dispatched at 7:27 p.m. on initial calls that indicated fire visible from the structure; additional units were dispatched as the incident escalated, with a full second alarm requested shortly after arrival. Tactical assignments were made, including establishing a Rapid Intervention Team and crews began operating to effect fire suppression and occupant rescue, rescuing multiple occupants by ladder prior to deteriorating conditions forcing a shift to defensive operations.
In defensive operations, all firefighters are required to evacuate the structure and all personnel are to be accounted for. Evacuation was ordered at 7:52 p.m.. At approximately 8:07 p.m., a collapse was reported on the east side of the building. Two MAYDAY calls were received from the collapse area, indicating firefighters in urgent distress; four firefighters were reported trapped by the collapse. The Rapid Intervention Team witnessed the collapse and held their ground for no more than 10 seconds until Command ordered them to effect the rescue. They located, uncovered and removed several firefighters from the immediate area. The first ambulance transporting a firefighter departed the scene at approximately 8:13 p.m., arriving at Truman Medical Center approximately five minutes later. A second emergency transport left the scene at approximately 8:21 p.m. with arrival at TMC five minutes following. Both those firefighters were pronounced dead at the hospital after paramedics, nurses and doctors had attempted to revive them. A third firefighter was transported to KU Medical Center at 8:23 p.m. and a fourth transported non-emergency to St Luke’s at approximately 8:27.
Defensive operations at the scene have continued throughout the night. A complete investigation, with the assistance of a KCPD, and a National Response Team from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is underway. More details regarding the investigation will be released as information develops.
The deceased firefighters are identified as:
17 year veteran, Fire Apparatus Operator, Larry J. Leggio of Truck 2.
13 year veteran, Firefighter, John V. Mesh of Pumper 10.
FAO Leggio leaves a wife and mother and many immediate family members.
Firefighter Mesh leaves a wife and four young daughters as well as many immediate family members.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost and injured, and with their peers throughout KCFD as we endure the impact of this tragic sacrifice. We wish to recognize all those who have extended their condolences and greatly appreciate the outpouring of compassion from our community’s leadership, our citizens, and our brothers and sisters in the protective services. Our particular thanks go to KCPD, and Truman Medical Center as well as other partner agencies who work with us daily to serve and protect Kansas City for their efforts throughout the night to console and assist us.
A fund to support the families of fallen firefighters is available through IAFF Local 42. Tax-deductible donations will be given to the families of firefighters Leggio and Mesh. Donations can be made by check, payable to IAFF Local 42 and should be sent to 6320 Manchester Ave., Suite 42A; Kansas City, MO 64133.
Sympathy cards may also be mailed to the same address.
For additional information and media inquiries, please contact Director of Communications Chris Hernandez at 816-513-3474 or Deputy Chief James Garrett, public information officer at Fire Headquarters at 816-513-4622.
Resolution passed by City Council on Oct. 15, 2015:
RESOLUTION NO. 150872
Recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made by, and mourning the loss of, Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh who both perished in the line of duty while fighting a fire on October 12, 2015.
WHEREAS, each and every day members of the Kansas City Fire Department respond to their fellow citizens’ calls for help; and
WHEREAS, on the night of October 12, 2015, Fire Department personnel answered a call for help and responded to a burning building at Independence and Prospect Avenues; and
WHEREAS, while fighting the fire at this burning building and acting to save the lives and property of their fellow citizens two of our City’s firefighters lost their lives;
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:
That the Mayor and Council do hereby recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh who both perished in the line of duty while fighting a fire on October 12, 2015; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council mourn the loss of Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh and extend the City’s condolences to their family, friends and co-workers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be spread upon the Minutes of the Council in testimony thereof and that a copy hereof be presented to the families of Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh, with appropriate recognition and appreciation of their sacrifice.