Family displaced at Liberty motel by fire forced out by second blaze

LIBERTY, Mo. - Several people are searching for a place to live after a fire damaged a Liberty motel early Wednesday morning -- including one family already displaced by a fire in October.

The blaze at the Days Inn on 291 Highway started just after 3 a.m. Kahbijah Houston said that's when she looked into the hallway and saw a wall of flames in the hotel.

"It caught fast," Houston said. "Whatever made it spark, it caught really fast."

Houston grabbed her 18-month-old son Anthony as she, her husband and two in-laws ran to safety.

Houston said their room was left unharmed, but they will not be able to go back because it's too close to major damage.

Now Houston is working with the American Red Cross for the second time in two months. Her real home, on Windsor Lane in Liberty, was badly damaged by a fire Oct. 21.

"Something malfunctioned with the furnace and it caught on fire," she said.

It left the home -- which is owned by Houston's father-in-law -- with major damage.

"The whole basement is gone, and the floors are going to need (to be) restructured and the walls are going to need (to be) knocked out and replaced," Houston said.

The family lost nearly everything. Houston said contractors estimate damage at $97,000.

"The insurance was going to cover it, and then the insurance isn't covering enough to where the contractor..." Houston trailed off and sighed. "It's just a lot of stress."

Houston is also eight months pregnant and should be on bed rest. She said her family is down, but not out.

"It's always something and we always end up being okay," Houston said.

The Red Cross said it can provide three nights in a hotel room for the family, but Houston said she is still working on a long-term solution.

Of the 45 people evacuated Wednesday morning, the Red Cross said 33 people were actually living at the Days Inn. A firefighter received non-life-threatening injuries.

The Liberty Fire Department has not yet determined what caused the blaze.

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