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Apartment Building Fire Displaces Six Families

Judd Weil


Fire crews worked early in the morning to put out the structure fire. [Photo: Dodge City Fire Department]

Six families have been displaced following an early morning fire on April 21 that destroyed an apartment building.

At 2:19 a.m., Dodge City Fire Department (DCFD) with the assistance of Ford County Fire & EMS responded to a structure fire at a multi-family dwelling on E. Brier Street.

According to the DCFD Facebook page, when fire crews arrived the fire was already well established within the void spaces of the floor joists between the first and second floor as well as the attic of the building.

Photos: Judd Weil.

Fire crews advanced attack lines into the structure to attempt to stop the fire.

Dodge City Police Department (DCPD) assisted by evacuating the rest of the apartment building as well as the apartment buildings next door.

The structural integrity of the building began to fail quickly into firefighting operations, prompting fire personnel to withdraw from the apartments. Firefighters went into defensive mode to try to stop the fire from the outside of the building.

One firefighter fell through a floor sustaining minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

One of the occupants of the building was also treated on scene for smoke inhalation.

No other injuries were reported.

There was extensive fire damage to a significant portion of the building and smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the structure.

“There were 6 families that lost their homes in this fire as the building is a total loss,” said DCFD on their Facebook page.

The American Red Cross arrived on scene to help families who were displaced.

It took around three hours for firefighters to bring the fire under control.

Fire personnel were still on seen in the late morning and early afternoon.

Families dealing with this loss, like the Ontiveros family, rebuilding from the wet ashes of memories perished will take longer than half of a day.

Maria Ontiveros said she was asleep with her son, when she was awakened by what she described as “sparking noises” from outside.

Upon checking her house and garage, Ontiveros said she noticed a glare towards her neighbors’ side garage but deemed it as her neighbors possibly grilling and so went back to bed.

Ten minutes later though Ontiveros awoke again to the smell of smoke. Investigating downstairs, that is when she saw the fire.

“I ran upstairs and that’s when my husband went outside,” said Ontiveros. “I told him ‘Hey there’s a fire’ and he automatically grabbed the kids, I called 911, he brought kids out and he started knocking on our neighbors’ doors that way he could get their attention, try to get them out.

We moved our cars and everything and that’s when PD and the fire department got here and did their job.”

Ontiveros commended DCPD and DCFD for their timely arrival to the situation.

“My first thought was, ‘I have to get my kids out,’” said Ontiveros. “It was just a scary moment.

I am hoping everything gets better and I know it will within time,” continued Ontiveros through tears. “Right now, we just feel devastated because we’ve lost quite a few things. We’re just hoping to get better and get back up.”

One of the ways people right now can help the Ontiveros family as well as the other families affected by this tragedy is by bringing donations to the American Legion Post 47, who will distribute them to the families. This includes but is not limited to, clothing, canned foods, blankets, and monetary donations.

“Any money donations, make sure people make the check to ‘The American Legion’ so that way they’ll get cashed out and we’ll make sure they get to the people that deserve it,” said Post 47 Vice-Commander Dan Stacy.

American Legion Post 47 is located at 801 S. 14th Ave. in Dodge City, Kan.

The Rocking M Media News Department has reached out to the Dodge City Fire Department asking the cause of the fire, but as of the writing of this article, they have not provided an answer yet.

The News Department also reached out to both Dodge City Fire Department and Dodge City Police Department about whether they will contribute to helping the six families recover from their losses in anyway.

If you or someone you know, an individual or group, is raising funds or donations to help these families, please let the Rocking M Media News Department know by emailing News Director Judd Weil at, by messaging the 1370 KGNO Facebook page, or by calling 620-789-2276.

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