Neighbor hailed as hero in Buckner apartment fire that left one hospitalized, two pets killed

BUCKNER, Mo. -- A massive wall of vivid orange flame tore through a Buckner apartment building early Monday, leaving six people displaced.

It started just after 3 a.m. in a middle apartment, then spread to every unit in the building. One person was taken to the hospital and two pets sadly died.

The brave actions of a neighbor are being credited with helping save lives.

"I was freaking out," neighbor Tristan Masden said.

Masden lives in the building next door and woke up when someone pounded on his door to warn him.

"It was just a flaming inferno honestly," Masden said.

He knew at least half the people in the neighboring building are senior citizens and have limited mobility.

"I just went to go. Adrenaline just took over my body," he said.

He took off running to the unit where the fire started.

"Just instinct, I guess.  I would like someone to save my life, too," he said.

The first neighbor was confused and didn't understand what was happening.

"I opened the door. Smoke comes flying out. Curtis is like, 'What's going on, Tristan?' I'm like, 'We have a fire. You need to move! You need to get your butt into gear,'" Masden said.

He carried Curtis to safety, sitting him in a lawn chair that later melted.

A young couple escaped on their own. Then they saw another older neighbor walking out, and Tristan helped that man down. That's when neighbors realized one more older gentleman still needed help.

"I'm like, 'Wake up!' There's flames all on the ceiling. I duck down like this. I'm like, 'Come on!' He gets in high gear, and I've never seen an old man run so fast," Masden said.

He said the scene was heartbreaking, watching everything his neighbors owned get eaten up by smoke and flames.

"The walls were just melting and everything was just melting.  It was horrifying honestly," he said.

One neighbor did go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Six people are left without a home, and two family pets didn't survive.

"What people have, you know, they worshiped what they had and they worked hard for," Masden said.

Buckner and the surrounding communities are rallying to help. Donations of food and clothing are already pouring in. A local church even opened its clothes closet to help fire victims.

"I just melt. God has called me to this ministry and just feel like it's an honor that I can be of service to the community," said Marla Tarpenning with Hope of God Fellowship Church.

Hope of God Fellowship Church will continue to accept donations to help.  A Go Fund Me page has also been set up for the fire victims.

Three fire departments -- Fort Osage, Sni Valley and Central Jackson -- helped put out the blaze. Investigators said it was caused by an electrical problem, possibly stemming from a heating unit.

None of the apartments had working smoke alarms.  Fire crews helped install new detectors for neighbors in the apartments next door.

Google Map for coordinates 39.137141 by -94.197503.

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