NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — Monday marked a much more quiet but somber day at the Fox Meadows apartment complex. According to the City of Newton, 15 residents of the fourplex were displaced as a result of a devastating fire Sunday. However, due to safety concerns, only two units were deemed safe enough to enter in the aftermath so far.
Karren Hulse is a support worker for one of those displaced residents. She spent much of her Monday working to salvage what she could from the woman’s damaged apartment.
“The most it’s got damage was the water damage there from the upstairs apartment,” Hulse said. “This is her bedroom, and we’re going to be able to salvage all of it, but there’s no lighting.”
She says the most important thing now is to help her client find a place to stay.
“Her church got her a motel room last night, but we can’t find someone that can do it tonight,” Hulse said.
Displaced resident Matthew Davis says only 10% of his belongings were salvageable.
“Went through most of our stuff … water damage, smoke damage, it’s pretty much all fried,” Davis said.
KSN News spoke with both the owner and the property manager of the complex. Neither wanted to be on camera. Both tell us while each unit was equipped with a smoke detector, management was in the process of installing fire extinguishers in all 48 units.
“Some of the apartments had fire extinguishers, and we just had 48 we bought two months ago,” Frank Holinde, a maintenance man with Fox Meadows, said.
However, management tells KSN they were waiting for those extinguishers to be inspected before they could be installed in each of the units. They tell us each unit would have had one within the next two weeks.
“I literally have to start everything from fresh … but how I see it, if God wants me to do it, then sure,” Davis said.
Holinde says the building was in the process of being sold, adding the prospective new owners will meet soon to decide if they’re going to move forward with the purchase. Regardless, Holinde anticipates all 12 units affected will have to be torn down.
Holinde says the City of Newton will meet soon to discuss the fate of the damaged part of the fourplex.