Prominent family's Briarcliff mansion destroyed in fire - WNEM TV 5

Prominent family's Briarcliff mansion destroyed in fire

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A prominent family's palatial home with panoramic views of downtown Kansas City was destroyed in a fire.

The loss is estimated at $5-8 million.

Charles and Patty Garney built the Briarcliff development on bluffs just north of the Missouri River and their nearly 15,000-square foot home was a focal point. Motorists could see the iconic home as they drove north on Highway 169. The home had verandas offering sweeping views, and the Garneys often hosted fundraisers and other events for prominent politicians and charity organizations at the home.

Charles Garney is a businessman. He and his wife are prominent civic leaders in Kansas City, and are well-regarded for their gracious hospitality and support of charitable organizations. Patty Garney became emotional when surveying the damage during daylight hours Friday morning.

The couple had been at the Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center, and returned home separately. Charles Garney was already home when Patty Garney arrived. She was preparing for bed when she saw flames just before 11 p.m. 

Patty Garney told firefighters she saw a glow from a skylight, and realized it was fire. She quickly woke up her husband. They along with their dog and a house guest escaped.

Patty Garney said she wants a thorough investigation.

The exact cause is under investigation, but the three-alarm fire is believed to have started in an attic area. Almost the entire slate roof is gone.

"I saw where it started and I don't know exactly what started it," Charles Garney said. "My guess is electrical wiring that caught some combustible material that caught that stuff on fire."

The fire was reported about 10:30 p.m. Thursday. It took about 80 firefighters more than three hours to knock down the flames. It took additional hours to knock down hot spots.

Patty Garney praised the firefighters who pulled priceless items such as family pictures as well as valuables such as paintings and crystal from areas not destroyed by the flames.

Battalion Chief James Garrett said the winds were problematic for firefighters. He said they had to battle flying embers to avoid other homes catching on fire.

"We haven't had time to get our investigators in the structure at this point," he said. "Once we in, we'll be able to go through the structure and figure out exactly what happened."

The home was recently on the market for $4.2 million, but the listing had been removed last year. Charles Garney said the family wants to rebuild rather than start from scratch.

He said they appreciate all the support they've received. The family is grateful that everyone and their pet made it out OK.

The home is in the 4200 block of North Hickory Avenue, and it was built in 1995. Here is a link to images of the home when it was on the real estate market.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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