Neighbors come together after fire damages Webb City apartment building

A cooking fire leaves a Webb City housing complex with serious damage, forcing some residents to evacuate.

The fire started just a little after 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 414 North Washington Street.

It only took about 20 minutes to contain, but it’s leaving six people without a home for the holidays.

“I don’t really have nowhere to go, but I would like to take the opportunity to ask everybody…who knows how to pray, pray, because the lord will work this out. I know He will,” expressed a tearful Mary Nelson, a resident forced to evacuate when her apartment building caught fire.

Nelson is relying on her faith to see her through after losing her home to smoke damage. On the opposite side of her room, is another apartment, heavily charred from a cooking fire.

“I was first on scene. I had heavy smoke conditions coming out of the whole building. The affected apartment behind us had smoke pushing out and flames,” said Webb City Fire Battalion Chief Jackie Clark.

Police helped evacuate residents from the housing complex, home to many elderly and disabled. Joplin and Oronogo Fire Departments were also on scene, working to get the flames under control.

“Had it been a different time of day, like middle of the night, it wouldve been so much worse,” said Clark.

Nelson was most concerned about her cat, Angel. She calls the firefighters who rescued her pet, angels too.

“She’s my life you know. My companion. She means everything to me. I was so excited when they brought her to me,” said Nelson.

Clark says this is an important reminder for everyone to remember to monitor their cooking, and to make sure smoke alarms are working.

In this case, alarms helped alert residents to evacuate early.

In the end, everyone is thankful for each other.

“Neighbors taking care of neighbors, you know, community too. The people really came together here to help people. We’re going to help a couple of them get some stuff moved and help them as much as they need and want,” stated Clark.

“I’m glad I’m here. I hope I can stay in this town,” said Nelson.

A dog also made it out of the fire safely.

No injuries were initially reported, although one man was later transported by ambulance after severe leg cramps.

Red Cross is assisting the people displaced in the fire, but if you’re interested in donating or helping out any of the affected individuals, you can contact the Webb City Fire Department at (417) 673-2254.

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