Unattended cooking left 21 people without homes


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Officials say the fire that ravished through the second floor of the West Colony Apartments started because a resident left food cooking on the stove, then left her apartment.

“I don’t want to go on TV looking like this, I mean I literally just lost everything,” said a fire victim as she got into her car and headed to a friend’s house across town.

Eight firefighters were injured from minor burns and muscle pulls; four of them had been treated at a hospital after the fire that caused about $750,000 in damage.

“The fire wall is what said my life,” said Curt Cotton, pointing too a cement slab that divides his apartment from the one that caused the fire. “If it weren’t for that, I would have lost everything and maybe even my life,” he explained. “I didn’t hear or smell a thing until someone knocked on my door.”

When Curt finally made it outside, he tells us he saw a swarm of firefighters and neighbors all trying to completely evacuate the second floor, which by this time, was completely on fire.

“My first thought was to try to see if we can get in there to stop the fire first,” said Sean Rawdon, who happened to be in the area when the fire started. ” We were kicking down doors and eventually got the door open but by that time we just wanted to get people out.”

There were dozens of people going up and down the stairs of the apartment after the fire, trying to access damage and look for anything that wasn’t completely charred. CRDN of Central and Western Kansas was out speaking to some of the fire victims about their options to restore some of their fire and water damaged belongings.

“Clothing, shoes, bags, bedding, drapery, and stuffed animals,” listed Samantha Post as she described what types of items CRDN are able to restore. “Any of the sentimental items like quilts and wedding dresses that have gone through fire, water, smoke or mold damage, we can actually clean and restore back to its previous condition”

Currently, the Red Cross is helping the 21 residents who lost their homes. There’s also a clothing drop off for people at the Metro PCS on Ridge and West Central for folks interested in donating to those affected in the fire.

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