Several families, including children, had to leap to safety when a fire erupted early Thanksgiving morning at the Stonewood Apartments in south Kansas City.
Firefighters used ladder trucks to rescue a dozen people stranded on the upper levels of the building. Six were rescued from balconies while six were rescued from apartments throughout the building.
"I woke up and the building was on fire. I couldn't see nothing but smoke, so the fire department had to lead us out," Donald Brown, who lives in the apartments, said.
The fire was reported about 3 a.m. No one was injured, but the American Red Cross is helping at least seven families who are now homeless.
The apartments are in the 7600 block of East 85th Terrace, which is near Oldham Road. The unit where the fire started was gutted. Authorities say the cause has not been determined.
Residents described jumping from balconies and windows to escape the flames with hedges and shrubs below helping break their fall. Some suffered cuts and abrasions.
A father who lived on the third floor with his family dropped his children out a window to the ground below. His wife slid down the side of the building to safety while he jumped out of harm's way.
Most fled with just the clothes that they were wearing.
Lavanda Angello said she and her sister and 10-year-old nephew tried to escape through their front door but opened it to discover thick, choking smoke. They wound up leaping from their balcony to safety.
"I was just screaming, scared. I didn't know what to do," Angello said."We were so scared because it was so dark."
Sheena Clark and her 10-year-old son, Kevin Clark, were quite scared and are very thankful to be alive.
"I woke up and didn't know what to do, so I just jumped out of the window," Kevin said.
Residents say it was a miracle that everyone was treated at the scene and not one had to be hospitalized.
Smoke detectors were throughout the building and firefighters said they were working.
Raytown firefighters also assisted.
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