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Former resident says apartment complex served as stepping stone for many families

A 30-unit complex in Holts Summit caught fire overnight and luckily all residents got out safely. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

The scene of an apartment complex fire in Holts Summit was chilling Monday as residents attempted to salvage belongings and break open their car doors - covered in ice after firefighters battled flames in freezing temperatures.

In the early morning hours Monday, Evergreen Condos caught fire displacing 30 families. Several pets died in the fire, but all people got out safely.

Residents at the scene Monday did not want to speak on camera. One family said they have five kids and were unsure of where they would stay. Their dog made it out, but they lost two pet bearded dragons in the fire.

Jared Sheneman said he used to live at the complex two years ago. He said it wasn't necessarily the ideal place to live - but it was a place. He made do until he could afford to live somewhere better. He said seeing the building was hard.

"That's where I used to live," he said. "Living up on the second floor - how dangerous. It's just completely gone. I can only feel for the families that live here now."

KRCG 13 spoke to the complex landlord but she did not want to make a statement or go on camera. She said this is a hard situation for management.

Jefferson City Public Schools Communications Director Ryan Burns said approximately 20 JCPS students were affected by the fire. Several children stopped by the scene of the fire with their parents Monday and took photos of the crumbling building.

Trish Kelm said she wasn't home when the fire broke out - her son Tyler called to tell her what was happening and it was bad.

""He said, 'Mom, I literally had to crawl out of the house to get to the car,'" she said.

Kelm said she lost everything in the fire from belongings to baby pictures. Despite the circumstances, she said, she is grateful.

"Even though it's a tragedy, it's a blessing that none of us died," she said.

Firefighters battled flare-up fires Monday afternoon. The cause of the fire was still under investigation, but the Missouri Division of Fire Safety could not be reached for comment.

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