At least 11 residents have been displaced by an apartment fire early Tuesday morning, according to a Gladstone Fire Department official.
Battalion Chief Bret Atkins said the Crown Heights apartment building, in the 200 block of Northeast 58th Street, went up in flames about 1 a.m.
Gladstone and Kansas City firefighters responded to the scene. No one was injured in the fire.
A mother and her two children were trapped on a third-floor balcony, Atkins said. Firefighters could not see them through the smoke, but they heard them and used a ladder to bring them to safety.
Another mother, Katrina Sanchez, ushered her 12- and 17-year-old children and her mother out of their unit before knocking on neighbors’ doors to alert them of the danger.
In a tearful phone interview, Sanchez said she worried how being displaced and losing many gifts will affect her children.
“It’s really hard because of everything that I had just gotten for my kids. … I know it’s material things, but they’re kids,” she said. “But what matters is we all got out.”
A fire department dog suffered smoke inhalation and was rushed to a veterinarian clinic.
Atkins estimated fire, smoke and a broken water line damaged or destroyed 16 apartment units. A firewall prevented the fire from spreading to more units.
The cold weather — Atkins said the wind chill was minus 6 degrees — compelled firefighters to bring some residents into the fire trucks on scene before the Red Cross found emergency shelter for them.
“It was too cold for anybody to be outside,” Atkins said.