KANSAS CITY, Mo — Several people, including families with children, used to call the apartment building at East 30th Street and Indiana Avenue home -- that is until Dec. 8, when an electrical fire forced them out.
Four days later the building was condemned.
Another fire Wednesday morning pretty much guarantees they won't be going home for a very long time.
"I have everything, my whole life is inside that apartment," Issac Jackson said.
Isaac Jackson woke up at the hotel where he has been staying for almost three weeks to the news his apartment building was on fire again. All the 51-year-old could do was stand in the street, watching his life burn up in an apartment he's not allowed to live in.
“Through this whole situation, I am trying to hold myself together and trying to be patient about everything but this just took the cake,” Jackson said.
Bernadette Yeakey, who also lives in the building, said her belongings have been held hostage by the condition of the building. No one is allowed inside to move their stuff out though some residents have snuck in from time to time to check on their stuff.
Residents said landlord Brian Stoker may have recently sold the building. He had been paying for their hotel rooms up until Monday.
“He would not pick nothing up,” Jackson said of the multiple phone calls he made to Stoker. “He would text us on the phone, telling us that he is not supposed to do nothing, anything. It is not in his hands no more. It is not his problem.”
Since residents say they have been getting the run around, Fox 4 called Stoker. He said this is a fluid situation, and he is working to make sure that things get handled properly for everyone’s safety and well-being.
Stoker hung up without answering questions about the status of the building or what he plans to do to take care of the tenants who have lost everything.
"I'm tired," Yeakey said through tears. "Seven years of dealing with somebody. Dealing with roaches and rats and bed bugs and all this mess, and him not wanting to fix the building. He's done broke me."
Firefighters said the fire started in the basement of the building but have not determined the cause of the fire.
Recently, several residents said they've seen gas generators inside, which they believe were either being used by people working on the building to bring it back up to code or squatters living in the building illegally.
It's a dangerous and common thing this time of year, Fire Marshal Floyd Peoples said.
“It is important to remember and this is important for everyone in Kansas City, if you have a vacant structure, it is the law that it has to be boarded up and secured,” Peoples said. “You can’t just leave one unlocked with the windows removed or the doors open. And this is the important time of the year to remember that so folks don’t go in and spend the night, do something to try to stay warm and we have something that happens in the neighborhood.”
The condemned building is now in worse shape.
Residents said they'll begin to look for other places to live but expect help from the building’s owner to relocate. Most of the residents do not have renters insurance and are demanding to be reimbursed for their losses.