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Weekend fires blamed on burglars leave apartment complex without heat

146 N Lawn apartment building
Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 03:45:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents at an apartment building in Kansas City's historic Northeast neighborhood spent a frigid weekend with no heat in their building.

Gas was shut off Friday morning after a fire in the building, but the building's owners say they're working to fix the issue.

Fresh plywood covered the broken glass windows Monday afternoon of the building at 146 N Lawn Ave.

With the heat back, it meant the end of a long, cold weekend for tenants like Sofia Be.

"It's freezing cold," she said.

KC Tenants, an active nonprofit, helped while the heat was off by dropping off blankets, snacks and coordinating with other groups to bring some relief to the shivering tenants.

Parker Webb, the CEO of the company that manages the building with FTW Investments says the fire was caused by break-ins.

"The problem has been under numerous occasions we've had a vagrant break in and start a fire," he said.

Fires like these are unfortunately quite common in this area. The building has had several fires, but burglars or others set fire to nearby building few months ago.

Be is scared there will be more fires.

"I just worry about my little boys," she said.

Public records show the building has received dozens of complaints over the years.

Several of them are related to doors being kicked down or left propped open, shattered windows, and of course multiple fires.

"Before the fire," Be said. "So many homeless try to get into the apartment."

FTW Investments says it's owned the building for 18 months and wants to fix the conditions. Webb says it's been hard to keep up with constant break-ins and damage to the building.

"Really, we've been trying," Webb said. "Every step that we're making going forward, has been kind of a step set back."