Dozens homeless after 2-alarm apartment blaze - KCTV5

Dozens homeless after 2-alarm apartment blaze

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About 12 apartments at 3417 E. Ninth St. were heavily damaged after a fire Friday evening, leaving dozens with the task of finding a new place to live and causing $100,000 in damage.

Timothy Chisam and his family were celebrating his son's birthday when he noticed heavy smoke from the window. Their building was on fire.

"There were flames shooting out of the back, smoke everywhere," said Chisam.

It was a race for all 20 people to get out but, when the smoke cleared, only a few needed medical attention. One person was treated on scene, another was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.

Chisam said he lost important papers and sentimental items, such as family photos. But he knows it could have been much worse.

"By the grace of God, all the neighbors stuck together, knocked on doors and we got everybody out," he said.

Kansas City fire investigators said they have an idea what started the fire that broke out on the first floor of the apartment building but are waiting for a complete investigation. They said it was likely an accidental fire but a difficult one to extinguish.

"We were able to knock the fire down with two interior hose lines, but because of that fire going up the rear exterior wall, it burnt into the attic area," said KCMO Fire Chief Smokey Dyer.

Saturday, families that had once called the apartments home were allowed to make their way back into them to salvage what they could.

"We notified all of the residents through the Red Cross that they will have to get with the property owner this morning to go ahead and get back into their apartment and secure any valuables and to get the things that they needed for a few more days being displaced," said Lew Hendricks, with the Kansas City Fire Department.

The Red Cross has been helping the residents with food, needed medicine and rooms for the night.

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