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‘The house is on fire’: Boy raises alarm, helps family escape burning home

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An Overland Park family was able to escape unharmed after their home erupted in flames early Friday morning. Jeff Jennings, his wife, and their three grandchildren were all at home when the fire broke out before 6 a.m. Jennings’ 10-year-old grandson, Jason, heard the glass breaking in his bedroom window, saw the flames and alerted the rest of the family.”He heard something. He came down, ‘The house is on fire. The house is on fire,’ and got everybody out,” Jennings said. Jennings said it all started when he was having trouble getting his smoker started at about 3 am Friday morning to cook brisket for a party for former co-workers. “I used my wet-dry vac to clean out some of the pellets. Some of the pellets weren’t in good shape, so I was trying to clean those out and apparently, when I restarted it, after a couple times, an ember I think got into my wet-dry vac and that’s when I think it took off,” he said. After firefighters put out the flames, the uncooked brisket was still on the smoker’s grill. l. Overland Park Fire Department investigators confirm the wet-dry vac ignited and caused the fire. Spokesman Jason Rhodes said with winter weather, homeowners may be using fireplaces in addition to grills. He said used fuel should be stored in metal containers with lids at least 10 feet away from combustible surfaces. “Spent fuel can stay hot for days. And so, it’s really something you need to treat gingerly,” Rhodes said. Jennings was emotional when discussing the support he has received from neighbors, the Red Cross, and the community after the fire. He noted his youngest grandson’s principal came to pick him up and gave him some shoes to wear. Most of the Jennings family ran outside without shoes in the cold weather.”Our community is just awesome. The principal cares enough to come and get the kid. The fire department already has stuff to help you out. Red Cross came and helped cover our stay,” Jennings said. An insurance adjuster has already been to the house to prepare an estimate of damages. The Jennings family is staying at a hotel at least temporarily until their situation is sorted out. Rhodes said there were working smoke detectors in the house. He said the fire is a reminder for everyone to check to make sure smoke detector batteries are working. He also said any smoke detector more than 10 years old should be replaced.

An Overland Park family was able to escape unharmed after their home erupted in flames early Friday morning.

Jeff Jennings, his wife, and their three grandchildren were all at home when the fire broke out before 6 am

Jennings’ 10-year-old grandson, Jason, heard the glass breaking in his bedroom window, saw the flames and alerted the rest of the family.

“He heard something. He came down, ‘The house is on fire. The house is on fire,’ and got everybody out,” Jennings said.

Jennings said it all started when he was having trouble getting his smoker started at about 3 am Friday morning to cook brisket for a party for former co-workers.

“I used my wet-dry vac to clean out some of the pellets. Some of the pellets weren’t in good shape, so I was trying to clean those out and apparently, when I restarted it, after a couple times, an ember I think got into my wet-dry vac and that’s when I think it took off,” he said.

After firefighters put out the flames, the uncooked brisket was still on the smoker’s grill.

Overland Park Fire Department investigators confirmed the wet-dry vac ignited and caused the fire.

Spokesman Jason Rhodes said with winter weather, homeowners may be using fireplaces in addition to grills. He said used fuel should be stored in metal containers with lids at least 10 feet away from combustible surfaces.

“Spent fuel can stay hot for days. And so, it’s really something you need to treat gingerly,” Rhodes said.

Jennings was emotional when discussing the support he has received from neighbors, the Red Cross, and the community after the fire. He noted his youngest grandson’s principal came to pick him up and gave him some shoes to wear. Most of the Jennings family ran outside without shoes in the cold weather.

“Our community is just awesome. The principal cares enough to come and get the kid. The fire department already has stuff to help you out. The Red Cross came and helped cover our stay,” Jennings said.

An insurance adjuster has already been to the house to prepare an estimate of damages. The Jennings family is staying at a hotel at least temporarily until their situation is sorted out.

Rhodes said there were working smoke detectors in the house. He said the fire is a reminder for everyone to check to make sure smoke detector batteries are working.

He also said any smoke detector more than 10 years old should be replaced.

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