Victims seek normalcy after fire forces them from their homes

KANSAS CITY -- A week after a fire forced them from their homes, some victims of an apartment building fire are struggling to return life to normal in time for Christmas.

Operation Breakthrough is one of many charitable groups in the metro that's working to help needy families have a happy holiday.

Smoke caused most the damage at the Winner Place apartments in Independence last weekend.

Fortunately, everyone got out safely.

John Brooks had been staying with his sister there, when he noticed smoke filling the building's hallway. After he got his relatives out safely, he dashed back inside the burning building, not once, but twice to help rescue three young children.

"There was a guy standing there saying his kids were still inside, so I didn’t even really hesitate," Brooks said. "I just ran in there. I got two kids out the first time and then I ran back in got one more kid and then the firemen was there after that and took over."

Katrina Moss was at work at the time of the fire, which she says caused much of the damage in her apartment.

The pregnant mom is due to give birth to her third child any day now, and suddenly found herself and her two boys with no place to live and no family to turn to for support.

"I was just like, seeing burned stuff, like everywhere," Moss said. "The doors were boarded up. I was lost. I reached out to my landlord. I was like, 'We have nowhere to go.'"

Apartment managers say they have learned that the fire had been deliberately set. And although some have moved back into the building, Newborns In Need today brought Katrina a crib, some beds for her boys and clothing that will be kept at Operation Breakthrough until she can find a place of her own.

Katrina works from home, but with the impending birth of her baby, finding someone willing to rent to her has proven difficult. Operation Breakthrough says it doesn't want Moss to return to Winner Place.