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How Overland Park apartment fire victims cope 1 year later

Posted at 5:21 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 18:21:45-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Tuesday marks one year since one of the biggest fires in Overland Park’s history. 

Last year, firefighters from across the metro rushed to the City Place Apartments. 

A welding incident caused two of the buildings to go up in flames. Fortunately, no one was hurt. 

Looking at pictures, Debby Foster thinks back to the fire that engulfed her home in just minutes one year ago.

“It just seems really unreal,” Foster said.

Foster was at work when the fire started.

“It's been a long journey, and I'm really happy where I'm at now, but it was a really tough year,” Foster said.

Many of the houses that caught fire had wood shake shingle roofs, causing the fire to spread quickly.

Foster’s home had an asphalt shingled roof.

“A lot of the people over here had wood shake and they went really fast,” Foster said. “But I think everybody's come back with asphalt shingles so wood shake no more.”

Overland Park apartment fire

The past year has been difficult.

“Things with the contractors, dealing with the insurance company, there's things we don't know,” Foster said. “They don't do classes on it. You don't know until you go through it and then you learn a lot of things by falling down and scraping your knees.”

Foster didn’t get back into her home until nine months later. Throughout this year-long journey, some days were longer than others.

“It seems like not a year ago but then again sometimes it feels like it was forever,” Foster said. “It's been such a long time getting to this place, so it just kind of depends on what side of the bed I get up on.”

She’s still waiting on her yard. And while her house looks different, she’s happy to finally be home again.

“I love this little place. I love the neighborhood,” Foster said. “It's just really good to be back.”

She said the main thing that gave her strength was the support of her community and co-workers.

The City of Overland Park stated of the 25 homes damaged, 14 were significantly damaged, causing those homeowners to either rebuild or move elsewhere.