Seven cities came to the aid of Liberty firefighters to battle a two-alarm motel fire that displaced dozens of families.
The fire ripped through the Liberty motel, forcing 50 people out into the cold early Wednesday morning and one firefighter was hurt when he fell through a second-floor balcony to the ground.
The people had to be evacuated from 30 different rooms at a Days Inn located on Highway 291 and North Forest Avenue just after 3 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities said there is heavy fire damage in up to eight rooms.
"I immediately started banging on doors, banged on the door next to me, run down started beating on everybody's door and screaming 'the hotel is on fire,'" Anthony Houston said.
In one of the scariest situations Liberty firefighters had to use a ladder from one of their trucks to climb up to the second floor and rescue two people from their room.
"These are folks that are in some type of transition; whether they're traveling, some may be staying here on more of a long-term basis, likely from out of town, don't have friends or family in the area," Darren Ashlock with the Red Cross said.
The Red Cross is finding shelter for the displaced people and Wednesday morning the shelter came in the form of a nearby Hy-Vee with food and supplies close at hand.
The situation was all too familiar to the Houston family who was managing losing their belongings and finding a place to stay with an 18-month-old baby.
"I had a house fire like two months ago, which is actually why we were staying in the hotel," Houston said. "He (the child) knows what's going on. He knew what was going on the first time when we had to pull him out the house. Now we had to pull him out the hotel. Not only that, but my wife's pregnant."
While the situation is enough to make anyone throw their hands up, the Houston family said they'll bounce back.
For others, finding a shelter that will take their pets is the biggest concern.
"It's just stressful living day to day anyways, and then having to deal with this and not knowing where to go," Tiffany Ford said.
The firefighter who was hurt sustained some injuries, but was taken to the hospital in good condition. He has since been released from the hospital.
By noon Wednesday, the Red Cross had already moved people affected from the Hy-Vee over to a church in Liberty. From the church they'll likely be placed in other hotels for the next few days.
Investigators still don't know what caused the fire.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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