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Residents of midtown KC apartment building lucky to escape fire alive, official says

Updated: 2013-07-03T20:14:20Z

The residents of a midtown Kansas City apartment building are lucky they escaped alive from an early morning fire, a fire official said Wednesday.

Firefighters had to rescue 10 of the 19 residents.

The fire started in a basement apartment of the building in the 3600 block of Troost Avenue.

The only two working smoke alarms were in one of the top units, said Battalion Chief James Garrett, a Fire Department spokesman.

“We are awfully lucky everyone got out,” Garrett said. “In fires like that you expect deaths.”

The fire swept through the apartment building about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday.

By the time firefighters arrived, the building was full of thick, black smoke and fire.

Despite the rescue of so many people, no one suffered injuries, Garrett said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The American Red Cross was assisting those who were forced from their homes, said Duane Hallock, a spokesman for the American Red Cross’ Kansas City region.

“Our primary focus initially was to make sure these people had food, water, clothing and blankets,” Hallock said.

The residents were taken to the Red Cross building at 211 W. Armour Blvd., where a temporary reception center has been opened.

Because it could be a while before they are able to return to their apartments, residents are working with Red Cross case workers to determine long-term needs. That may include financial assistance, lodging and referrals to other services and agencies.

Robert A. Cronkleton, bcronkleton@kcstar.com

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