KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — A woman killed in a fire Friday afternoon was on oxygen, according to KCFD Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Walker, and that is likely what caused the fire to be so massive and fast moving.
The KCFD received the 911 call shortly after 3:15 p.m. sending them to 3908 NW 83rd Terrace.
Officials identified the woman as Sherry Weaver. A family member said she was 78 years old.
Several neighbors knew she was on oxygen and relied on a wheelchair to get around.
Emily Nance lives across the street. She was startled to hear a loud popping noise and when she stepped out to see what it was, the fire was already blasting out of the first floor apartment of the woman she’d met before.
“There was fire coming out of the bottom unit and the top part had started on fire. The siding was melting. It was scary to see,” recalled Nance, after the fire was put out.
She was recording video as fire crews arrived, her voice panicked and concerned.
“She’s immobile. I’m like terrified right now, because there’s no way she got out of that on her own,” she told someone.
Kimberly Ade lives in the adjacent pod of apartments. She said she could hear the outside fire alarms blaring and saw maintenance crews knocking on doors, alerting residents in person. Ade and the others escaped safely but when she saw what prompted the alarm to sound, she was shaken by fear.
“Because I know the lady that lives in that building and my worst fears came true,” said Ade. “I’ve seen people come help her. And take her around.”
One of the woman‘s granddaughters was pacing, distraught, saying she’d been there helping her grandmother just an hour before.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the connected pods of units. Eight units were destroyed by fire. Eight more received smoke damage. The Red Cross said at least 20 people were displaced.
“I feel sorry and pray for the family that’s dealing with this, for those that have suffered a tremendous loss, and I’m very thankful for the fast action of everybody in the community,” said Ade.
Fire officials said they had no reason to suspect foul play, but the KCPD Bomb and Arson Unit is investigating as they do for every fatal fire.