KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Housing Authority of Kansas City is looking at evicting the resident who possibly started a fire that cost more than $100,000 in damages at the Brush Creek Towers on Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard II.
The man who lives in the apartment where the fire started on Wednesday night is a known smoker. Fire investigators also found multiple oxygen tanks in his apartment that exploded. The investigation is focused on whether his smoking lead to the explosion of his oxygen tanks.
Residents of the Brush Creek Towers apartments credit an evacuation plan for helping them safely escape the four-alarm fire. But critics say there is still room for improvement.
Every resident in the building has some type of disability mentally or physically. So, many could only wait for firefighters to help them to safety.
Since moving into the building, Mike Powell started questioning why other residents with a mobility disability would be placed on a top floor.
But Edwin Lowndes, Kansas City Housing Authority executive director, explained there are more than 8,000 people on the waiting list for government housing.
"We can't deny someone housing just because it's on an upper floor, particularly if that individual says 'I will live there,'" Lowndes said.
The apartment where the fire started is now a shell. The units next door and on the floor below, six in total, are uninhabitable. The tower was built in the mid-1970's, before fire sprinklers were required for high rises.
"It's not something we can go back in and retrofit cost effectively. It's a concrete building," Lowndes said.
But everyone agrees that the Vial of Life program, which has residents provide the housing council with information on their disability, prescriptions, physician and emergency contact, ensured rescue crews knew who would need assistance to get to out of the building safely.
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