Tenants impacted by Waldo apartment fire grateful for overwhelming donations at KC church

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will release the cause of a massive Kansas City apartment fire later this week.

The fire at Waldo Heights Apartments on Troost Avenue displaced at least 30 families last Monday.

In response to the fire, St. Elizabeth Parish put out a community call for donations to help people who were impacted by the fire. Now the basement of the church is packed with items.

Eldon Campbell lived on the second floor of Waldo Heights. He was across the street at the gas station when the fire started. He was able to run back inside to get his dog but lost everything.

He’s not sure if he’ll be allowed back in the building to salvage what might be left.

“It was four hours. When I left, it was still burning,” Campbell said. “My mom’s ashes, all that is gone. It’s different when it’s just my stuff, you know. But that family heirloom, it can’t be replaced ever.”

Campbell visited St. Elizabeth on Monday evening where he was able to get many essential items he lost in the fire. The items were donated by community members and organized by volunteers like Alice Arredondo.

“When we started, we never expected it to get this big, but it has and it’s been just really meaningful and an awesome thing to be a part of,” Arredondo said.

Families in need can get everything from clothes and blankets to household essentials, and they can come back as often as they like.

“You know, when people come in and see it, it’s unexpected,” Arredondo said. “I think that’s what’s really kind of driving the emotion is that the overwhelming amount of support from the community really is an emotional, emotional experience.”

For Campbell, money was already tight, but after shopping in the basement, he has what he needs to help him make his new apartment feel like home.

“People don’t realize when you lose everything, you know, buying something as simple as fingernail clippers, it all adds up real quick and living paycheck to paycheck,” Campbell said. “You can’t just go and buy these things. You know, it’s real hard. So I’m sure I’m not the only grateful person for this.”

Families in need can come to the Seaton hall entrance of St. Elizabeth Parish between 5-7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The church has no more room for donations, but organizers really need reusable bags, bins and baskets for people to put their items in. If you’d like to help or need help, call 816-523-2405 or visit the church’s website.

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