Neighbors angered by out of service hydrant near homes that caught fire

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two homes are destroyed and neighbors are angry following a fire Thursday morning in a Kansas City neighborhood. Investigators say the blaze broke out in an empty home in the 2700 block of Belleview Avenue. Neighbors say no one lived in the home and that it was being renovated.

They said embers from that fire blew onto the home next door, forcing 76-year-old Crispina Raya and her roommate to find a new place to live.

Raya, known as Tina to friends, said, “I didn’t want to get out but I had no choice.”

She didn’t want to leave when a neighbor banged on her door Friday and told her the house next door was on fire.

“Everything’s lost. Just what you see now. That’s it,” she said.

Raya’s next door neighbor, Andrea Garcia, has lived next to Raya for as long as she can remember.

“I’m just really sad for my neighbor. She’s been, since I was a little girl, she was next door neighbor Tina. It just makes me so upset that we’ve worked so hard and put so much of our time and everything, and this is my daughter’s home, my family’s home, a legacy that this house and just for something so small and severe as this fire hydrant not working, it could’ve all been wiped out, gone in minutes,” Andrea said.

The Kansas City Fire Department said that hydrant was identified as out of service and that the department places hydrants several feet from one another. The department also said each engine company carries 500 gallons of water.

Emari Rozell, a six-year-old neighbor, said, “It looked like all the smoke was on top of the roof, and then we had to get in the car. I was thinking that this little sweet old lady was hurt.”

The city is set to demolish the vacant home Friday. No one was hurt in the fire.

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