KC woman seeking help after Christmas Eve fire

Posted at 3:29 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 18:37:27-05

Corrie Whitfield said Christmas Eve will never be the same.

"Everything's gone,” the Kansas City woman told 41 Action News. "I mean all his tools, everything .... it's all gone."

Whitfield and her boyfriend moved into their home near 26th and Drury last summer. When she got home from work Saturday, Whitfield only saw a charred shell of what used to be her home.

Corrie Whitfield stands outside her charred former home with 41 Action News reporter Josh Helmuth.

"My boyfriend got out. Our puppy didn't make it,” she said.

The fire started Friday night around 11:30 in the basement. After Kansas City firefighters put out the fire, another fire erupted in the upstairs of the home Saturday morning. After firefighters arrived and extinguished the second fire, all was lost.

Firefighters believe it may have been a kerosene heater in the basement that was the root of the fire.

"That's what we think it was too. That's the only thing it could have been,” said Whitfield.

KCFD Deputy Fire Chief James Garrett told 41 Action News it’s still a story far too common.

"We see it all the time every day,” he said.

Firefighters stand outside Whitfield's home.

Garrett said when it comes to alternative forms of heating, including kerosene heaters and space heaters, regular maintenance and up-to-date technology is vital.

"You don't want to use extension cords with those. You want to make sure that the coil on those are intact and that the equipment is readily function-able,” said Garrett. “A lot of times you'll get some little intricacy in there that malfunctions and will cause the whole thing to malfunction. You also want to make sure it has shut off or temperature shut offs on those. A lot of the old equipment doesn't have that."

For now, any help getting back on her feet is just as vital for Whitfield, who is in need of everything.

"We're at a loss. I mean we don't know where to start,” she said.

You can reach Whitfield via e-mail at



Josh Helmuth can be reached at

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