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Archive for Sunday, May 5, 2002

Area briefs

May 5, 2002

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Toddler dies in house fire

Kansas City, Mo. A fire that authorities suspect might have been deliberately set killed a 3-year-old boy and injured two other people Saturday.

The Fire Department said the boy, Marshawn Harper, was asleep in a second-floor bedroom when the fire started about 4 a.m. Four adults and two other children were in the house when the fire started.

Investigators think the blaze began on the front porch. Witnesses said three people escaped through a second-story window and jumped from a porch, but that they could not get Marshawn to come out the window.

Kansas City police were investigating the death as a homicide. Trained dogs were brought in and detected the presence of an accelerant, according to police.

Kansas City Fire Marshal Ed Collins said the cause of the fire would not be announced until at least Monday. He also said that the house did not have a working smoke detector but that one could have saved the boy's life.

Preservation group to honor timber-framed DeSoto barn

The Kansas Preservation Alliance will present Darrel Zimmerman with one of five Awards for Excellence May 10 in Abilene during the annual Kansas Historic Preservation Conference. Zimmerman owns the White/Waitzmann Barn in DeSoto that is being honored by the alliance.

The unique timber-framed barn was originally built on the White farm in rural Johnson County, now owned by Ernest Waitzmann. Zimmerman and a group of volunteers dismantled and moved the barn to Kill Creek Farm, about 7 miles away. The farm, owned by Zimmerman, is dedicated to "Maintaining the Rural Heritage of Johnson County" and plays host to more than 6,000 visitors annually.

The alliance's awards recognize outstanding preservation projects and illustrate the diversity of preservation activity in Kansas. The alliance has given out awards since 1981.

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