Independence family with sick baby forced from home after old furnace catches fire

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An early morning fire has left a young family in Independence without a home, adding to their ongoing struggles.

The fire sparked around 3 a.m. Monday in the basement of the Woods family's rental home on Woodbury Street.

Christina Woods said her 2-year-old son woke her up complaining of smoke. After searching the first floor for the source of the fire, her husband noticed smoke billowing in from the heat ducts and realized it was coming from the basement.

“The furnace caught fire, and I guess it was out of date,” Woods said. “The fire department also said there are bad wires down there that are out of date.”

The fire was contained to just the basement of the home, but the city posted two notices on the front door of the Woods' home deeming it “dangerous.”

“We got about five minutes to get stuff,” Woods said.

She said the damage could have been devastating.

“I believe that if we didn’t wake up when we did, 10 minutes later we probably would’ve exploded,” Woods said.

An explosion could’ve been possible because their home has a gas furnace and the family has oxygen tanks for 7-month-old son, Noah. He was born with a weak heart and continues to battle a condition known as tracheomalacia.

“It’s where his bronchial tracheal tubes are too small, and they collapse when he exhales,” Woods explained. “So it doesn’t allow the carbon dioxide to leave his body.”

Noah’s ongoing health issues also means he’s been hospitalized most of his life.

“I’ve literally had to force myself to prepare for the worst because at any point in time he could go into heart failure,” Woods said.

Adding to her fears is the fact that she can no longer have children.

“It's scary because Noah’s my last baby,” Woods said. “I got my tubes tied, and I don't want to lose him.”

The Woods are trying to keep a positive attitude but said blow after blow only makes life harder. They have one simple request for the community.

“I just want somebody to pray,” Woods said. “Noah’s made it this far because of prayer, and we believe prayer will get us through all of this.”

The Woods will need a new furnace. They’re currently staying at an area motel thanks to the Red Cross. It could be up to a week before they are allowed back in their home, pending approval from city inspectors.

The family created a GoFundMe page for baby Noah. If you would like to donate, click/tap here.