Families displaced after fires scorch south KC apartments 2 nights in a row

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dozens of people are without a place to live after two fires two nights in a row at a south Kansas City apartment complex. 

The first fire at Willow Creek Apartments, near 99th & Wornall, happened Tuesday night.  Investigators believe an electrical issue with an appliance started that fire. 

The same building burned again Wednesday night, but first responders have not yet released a cause.

Tina Benson’s fiance and six-year-old son were inside a third floor unit Tuesday night as smoke filled the air.

“They were trapped on the balcony, so they had to rescue them,” Benson said.

The family came back Wednesday morning, hoping to grab a few essentials and some clothing to take back to their hotel. Not much could be salvaged.

“It was bad. Just a lot of smoke damage,” Benson said.

Tina said she never imagined what happened that very night.

“You could actually see our apartments from the hotel room we were staying in, so I saw sirens and then all these flames, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. My apartment’s on fire again,'” Benson said.

Dozens of apartments are now just a shell. The Benson family lost everything. While they’re grateful to be safe, Tina is devastated by what cannot be replaced.

“I lost my son three years ago to suicide, and all I had of his memories was what I had in a black box I kept, so I’ve actually lost that. I don’t have any more memories,” Benson said.

But she said she is clinging to her faith and thankful to the community members, who are doing what they can to help.

Neighboring Holmeswood Baptist Church is already helping Willow Creek residents with food, clothing and shelter, and they said they hope to offer even more soon.

“It’s very important for us that everyone in south Kansas City is taken care of,” Holmeswood Baptist Senior Pastor David McDaniel said. “So there was a need right now. While we come at it from a faith perspective, it’s also a community perspective that we are all in this together.”

“I’m very thankful.  You know, sometimes people’s pride gets in the way, but I’ve eliminated my pride. I need all the help I can get,” Benson said.

Tina Benson’s family has a GoFundMe page set up to help them get back on their feet.  

FOX4 also spoke with the Scott-Young family who lived at Willow Creek. The couple has a young son and are expecting a newborn daughter any day now. They said they lost everything, including gifts from a recent baby shower.  They also have set up a GoFundMe page.

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