‘I lost everything’: Four homes damaged, multiple families displaced after Olathe fire

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OLATHE — As most people are staying indoors because of the coronavirus, four families have been forced out of their homes.

Ten people were displaced after a fire ravaged four townhomes located on North Iowa Street in Olathe.

“It went so fast. Before you knew it, it was through the whole house,” former resident Georgetta VanVleet said. “I lost everything. My pictures, that stuff that can not be replaced.”

VanVleet said she was ready to stay inside and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I had a whole freezer full of food, downstairs and upstairs,” she said.

Her home is now deemed a complete loss after a fire started in her living room Saturday morning. 

VanVleet said everything happened in a matter of minutes. Thankfully, she was able to make it outside safely, along with her two grandsons and three dogs.

But for many family members the situation is leaving behind a deeper emotional bruise.

“Just seeing it, just kind of tragic. My grandma just tries to help out whoever she can and does the most for people. It’s tragic this had to happen to her,” Dallas VanVleet, Georgetta’s grandson, said. “The timing is really bad. There is obviously a lot of stuff going around, and this obviously doesn’t help.”

Georgetta VanVleet told FOX4 this could not have come at a worse time. 

“I just loss my husband a year ago, and I loss my son two years ago,” VanVleet said.

This coupled with COVID-19 crisis makes an already difficult time even harder.

The VanVleet family members plan on staying at a hotel. Beyond that, they’re trying to figure out what to do next.

Neighbors who were also displaced said they plan to stay with family.

Investigators with the Olathe Fire Department are working to determine the fire’s cause.

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