Left with little, tenants wonder what’s next after fire destroys apartments

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One day after being burned out of their Kansas City apartments, several families are now fired up. The tenants are at odds with managers at Deerbrook Apartments near East 51st and Swope Parkway. As of Friday, several of the fire victims say their lives are in limbo. They say they're still waiting to see if the managers here plan put them in new apartments.

"We got you know socks and some clothes, they smell like burnt wood," said fire victim Santisalacoya Knowles. "I never would've thought this would've happened, not in three months."

Three months after moving into Deerbrook, Santisalacoya and Tony Knowles are now worried about their future. The Thursday blaze seriously damaged or destroyed the Knowles' apartment and 11 other units. The Knowles now only have a van load of clothes they collected from their charred, soot-stained unit.

"I'm scared because I don't know where we're gonna be, what's gonna happen?" Santisalacoya said.

“Clothes are smoke damaged and, you know, stuff like that and I don't really got nothing," said Tony.

The Knowles say they have repeatedly asked the property manager at the complex if the complex owners will place them and other fire victims into new apartments, but to no avail. The couple says the property manager has asked them for their $450 rent payment.

"That's kind of upsetting. That's frustrating, so you'll be there to collect rent, but you're not telling us anything about where we're gonna live? Are you gonna help us? Is it going to be any relocating?" Santisalacoya questioned.

The couple said a maintenance worker was repairing a pipe in their bathroom wall when the fire ignited. Investigators say the official cause should be known Saturday.

The Red Cross is putting the couple in a motel for one more night. After that the Knowles say they don't know what they're going to do. The property manager wouldn't go on camera, but says they plan to help all the fire victims.

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