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Man recovers, girlfriend reacts after fire devastates their home

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man is in stable condition after a fire erupted Sunday night in East Kansas City.

From afar, this house off Bales avenue looks like any other. But Kimberly Gaston knows better.

"You know you can still smell the fire. Just to see the house in disarray like this. It wasn't just a house, it was a home," she said.

She lived here with her boyfriend, Paul Shields, but didn't spend Sunday night with him.

"I'm just tired of sitting in the house. I'm 44, I'm young, I've got a life to live," said Gaston.

It was a decision Gaston would regret. Just before 9:00 p.m., the flames erupted on the first floor.

The blaze was out in less than 10 minutes, quickly replaced by smoke. Firefighters found Shields in the upstairs bedroom.

"He was lying on the bed and he was unresponsive," said James Garrett with the KCMO fire department.

He's now recovering at Research Medical and is in stable condition.

Garrett says the cause of the fire appears to be accidental because there was nothing to lead investigators to believe anything malicious was done.

Gaston found out about the close-call this morning. It was a surprise because when she left him, everything was normal.

"I picked Paul up last night and took him to Popeye’s to grab something to eat and dropped him off on Cleveland," Gaston said.

Before visiting Shields in the hospital, she wanted to see what was left of the house. As she surveyed the damage, Gaston realized she can no longer call this place home.