Crews respond to another fire in KCK - KCTV5


Fires stretch Red Cross budget in Kansas City

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Alice Barr/KCTV Alice Barr/KCTV

In recent weeks, the Red Cross has been called to help many families that have become fire victims, including those affected by a second KCK apartment fire.

The second fire broke out at the Spring Valley Apartments, located near 39th Avenue and Booth Street. The apartment is blocks from the University of Kansas Hospital.

Fire crews on scene said they believe the cause of the blaze is suspicious.

Deputy Chief Craig Duke said the fire started in a basement unit but, when firefighters tried to go in to investigate they found that someone had shoved furniture against the door, blocking their way in. When firefighters got past the furniture, they found someone had left the gas on at the stove and it looked like someone had smashed in a bedroom window from the inside.

Luckily no one was injured, but nobody is able to stay in the apartment building. At least four people will be counting on help from the Red Cross.

It is a very busy time for the Red Cross. Organizers said they are running past budget right now because of all the help they've been providing over the last couple months.

The Greater Kansas City Chapter of American Red Cross responded to 47 fires in January alone, 10 of those were multi-family or apartments, so they helped a total of 70 families. The numbers were similar for December.

Organizers explained that their help goes beyond finding lodging for those in need on the first day.

"Over the next few days, they'll work with a case worker to find out what other assistance the Red Cross can provide and that goes from everything like medications, to dentures, to eyeglasses, just things that may have been lost in the fire, that we can maybe help with," Jamie Dierking with the Red Cross said.

The extra activity means they are now running over budget.

"That's an enormous number that's kind of taxing on the Red Cross, but that's what we're here to do, is help people," Dierking said.

Firefighters say winter is always busy for them because of issues with things like space heaters.

And for people like Jeremy Foster, who is left with nothing after a fire Saturday in KCK, The Red Cross is often only one place to turn.

"The Red Cross is all we have because we can't go back to our home," Foster said.

The Red Cross is hoping their budget will balance out as the year goes on.  But for now, they're asking for donations to help them through the busy time.  You can head to their website to help donate.

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