SEDALIA, Mo. -- Flames engulfed a Sedalia neighborhood Thanksgiving morning, destroying three adjacent homes and damaging a fourth home across the street.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire that began around 11 a.m. and raged well into the afternoon at a 6-unit apartment building near Fourth Street and Missouri Avenue.
Despite the efforts of dozens of firefighters, strong winds spread the fire to two neighboring homes and eventually pushed it across the street to another house.
A woman named Linda escaped the small apartment building before it burned to the ground.
“I was in my house, my neighbor came out and got me,” said Linda. “I got the dog out. Thank God for neighbors. Thank God for the fire department…I don’t have anything else but the clothes on my back.”
She ran to safety with other residents, including a woman who agreed to talk with Fox 4, but said she was just too distraught to show her face.
“I was frantic,” she said. “I don't know exactly what was going through my mind. It all burst into flames and several hours later, this is the result. There’s no building at all. Six apartments are gone.”
Janet Long lives in the home across the street with her husband, Jim, and their 13-year-old son, David, who is deaf, autistic and wheel chair-bound.
“I sat on the bed watching the flames,” Long said, “and thinking I’m glad that didn't happen to us, and the next news, they said, ‘Get out of there!’ So it was unbelievable!”
Long said they made it out safely and were able to save several guinea pigs they keep as pets. But they weren’t able to save any valuables on the second floor, where the fire raged.
“My heart was racing,” she said. “Just so scared, and you could feel the heat from across the street on the building.”
Long said her family had just finished their Thanksgiving meal, and that despite all the damage on their block, they still have much to be thankful for.
“We can replace stuff, but you can't replace lives,” she said.
The American Red Cross helped displaced residents check into a local hotel Thursday night. Other members of the community also offered assistance to firefighters throughout the day by bringing Thanksgiving leftovers, water and snacks to the scene.
Photos courtesy of Nicole Cooke and Sedalia Democrat.