‘No choice but to keep going’: KC families left with nothing after fire destroys apartment building

Regional News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The investigation continues after dozens of people lost their homes in a massive apartment fire Monday night in Kansas City.

The Red Cross is helping many of them stay in a hotel, but in the meantime, federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Response Team are helping local law enforcement figure out what happened.

The fire started around 8 p.m. Monday night at the Waldo Heights Apartments off of 80th Street and Troost Avenue.

“The holidays, our babies, the pandemic,” said Nashenna Hooker, a KC mother displaced from her home. “A lot of us kind of spent everything that we actually had to make sure our babies had a good Christmas.”

Hooker and her family are left with nothing.

“This isn’t how anybody expected to end the year,” Hooker said.

Everything they owned burned up in the fire.

“You could hear people saying, ‘Help,’ and you’re looking for them, and they’re up on the third floor just stuck basically, but it was so much smoke that they got covered in the smoke,” Hooker said.

She and her boyfriend saw smoke coming out of their wall socket, she said. That’s when they knew something was wrong.

“We started putting on whatever we could grab at that time,” Hooker said.

They’re two of many who made it out in time — but lost everything.

Right now the Kansas City Fire Department said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the fire hydrants being spaced out further made it harder to put out the flames.

“Christmas just happened, you know,” said Angelika Scharp, who also lost everything in the fire. “All of my daughter’s presents are gone. I had four cats inside. They’re still in the building. I don’t know if they made it or not.”

Scharp said she was at work when she got the call about the fire. Her daughter and partner were inside.

“I imagine it would be quite frightening, you know,” Scharp said. “One second you’re watching TV, and the next your apartment is filled with smoke.”

Both of these moms are now anxious for what’s next but have no choice but to be strong for their kids.

“It’s so hard to stand on your 10 toes and be as strong as you possibly can when you have no hope left to keep going forward,” Hooker said. “But when you look at your kid, you have no choice but to keep going.”

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