An early morning fire swept through a south Kansas City house Thursday that was home to a family of 11.
The parents and nine children, who ranged in age from 2 to 16, escaped by crawling through a window in the master bedroom onto the roof of a sunroom.
The fire was discovered about 2:30 a.m. in the house near East 105th Terrace and College Avenue.
The home belonged to Matt Hannah, a 21-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, and his wife. Hannah is an instructor at the Kansas City Police Academy.
Helen Jeter, who lives across the street, said when she noticed the fire, she thought the house next door to hers was ablaze because the flames were so bright.
It wasn’t until she looked out the window that she saw the fire was across the street. All three levels of the house were engulfed in flames, she said.
“It was just horrific. Just horrific,” she said. “They’re a nice family.”
She was relieved when a neighbor called and told them that the family made it out safely.
The fire destroyed the split-level brick house and everything inside.
A sign posted by the front door warned that the house was a dangerous building and not to enter.
The American Red Cross responded and was providing lodging, clothes, shoes and food, said Duane Hallock, regional communications director for the Kansas City Region of the American Red Cross.
“With so many of them being children, I can only empathize with the parents of the family who now don’t have home, clothes or anything like that,” Hallock said. “It’s a tough situation, especially with weather being so cold and it being this time of year.”
A relief fund to help the Hannah family meet immediate needs has been established. People can send donations to:
Matthew Hannah Donations
c/o The Kansas City Police Credit Union
P.O. Box 270020
Kansas City, MO 64127
Or by calling the credit union at 816-504-2800.
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