John Victor Mesh

The Kansas City Fire Department prepared a detailed internal investigation of this incident. The following is an excerpt from the report:

On the evening of October 12, 2015, Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh were fatally injured in a wall collapse at a structure fire that was dispatched at 1927hrs. The fire involved a 3-story Type III structure with apartments located on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The 1st floor contained 4 commercial spaces, 3 of which were occupied and open for business at the time of the incident.

Initial regular alarm companies reported heavy smoke and commenced rescuing residents from the upper floors of the structure while attempting to determine the location and seat of the fire.

After 19 minutes, 38 seconds of interior operations, the Incident Commander ordered an evacuation and switched operational tactics from “offensive” to “defensive”.

Shortly after this change in tactics, the Incident Commander ordered that a collapse zone be established. At 2006hrs pm, firefighters were operating inside a collapse zone when the D-side masonry wall collapsed. Four firefighters were transported emergency to area hospitals and 2 of these men passed away from their injuries. Several firefighters reported injuries resulting from the collapse, and 2 of these firefighters are undergoing extensive rehabilitation from injuries sustained.

The report is available at

The cause of the fire was incendiary.

Incident Location: 2608 Independence Avenue (U.S. National Grid: 15S UD 6594 2974)

Department Information

Kansas City (Missouri) Fire Department
635 Woodland Avenue, Suite 2100
Kansas City, Missouri 64116

Chief: Paul J Berardi

John Victor Mesh was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 39 
Rank: Firefighter 
Classification: Career 
Incident date: Oct 12, 2015 20:07
Date of death: Oct 12, 2015 
Cause of death: Collapse 
Nature of death: Crushed 
Activity type: Setup 
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire 
Fixed property use: Residential