Red Cross helps residents after Saturday apartment fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Residents of a senior living center are opening up about the fire that damaged their homes on Saturday and what they plan to do now.

FOX 4's Megan Dillard spoke with residents of Paraclete Manor off Prospect near Swope Parkway, as well as the American Red Cross workers who are working to help them get back some sense of normal life.

More than a dozen senior adults spent Saturday night on cots at a local community center.

Just after lunchtime Saturday, the sidewalks outside the building were lined with seniors and firefighters.

A fire broke out on the second floor, causing damage to many of the units. Some residents were able to stay in the building, but most had to find a place to stay.

"I heard people running down the hallway saying, 'fire! Fire! Fire!'" said resident Gwendolyn Boyd. "Just as I got outside the building, I could see the smoke coming out, and my first thought was the people that are in the building that are in wheelchairs.

At least six people were injured in the fire, possibly more.

The damage sent people from the third floor down in search of a place to sleep for the night.

"We have taken them in as our family now," said Red Cross worker Tom Aston.

The American Red Cross is housing 23 residents so far. 15 of them came to the Gregg/Klise Community Center Saturday night.

"We all slept in one room. We all had our cots, and they were taking care of us really well," Boyd said.

The Red Cross is feeding the seniors and giving them a place to sleep, but it's also equipped to help people with other needs.

"We have the equipment on site and on hand any time to accommodate for those needs," Aston said. "Everything from their medical equipment to prescriptions or whatever it may be."

Boyd said she doesn't know what's next as far as going home or finding a new one, but the Red Cross said they'll help.

Until then, she said she's grateful to have a place to lay her head.

"I gotta go with the flow. I don't know what's going to happen, but what they say do I'm going to be doing," Boyd said.

The Labor Day weekend did make it a bit more difficult for organizers to plan the next steps, but they're up to the task.