Holts Summit fire victims find new home

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HOLTS SUMMIT - Four days after the Evergreen Complex fire, all families affected now have a permanent home. 

The American Red Cross job director said the last two families who stayed Thursday night have signed their new leases. 

"When we found out from our last family that they found a housing solution for themselves, we were just ecstatic," said John Dungan, the Red Cross Disaster Specialist. "We all kind of felt like it's time for a party."  

One victim was able to sign her new lease on Thursday. Reflecting on her time at the shelter, she said it was a good experience.

"It was a slumber party," said Pamela Burse. "It was incredible. Red Cross helped us in every way they possibly could. The churches were very hospitable to us. Nobody made us uncomfortable or unwanted." 

Burse said she went back to the complex a few times since the fire, and it's the pictures she wants back the most. 

"It's heart wrenching. You can't get any of your personal belongings out. There's tons of memories that we've lost. Pictures of my children when they were babies — my mother has passed away and lost all of those pictures," said Burse. 

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief wasted no time when helping out.

"We got a call from dispatch at 2:35 a.m. and at 2:40 a.m. I was on the phone calling to see if we could have somebody here right away. Within an hour we had four volunteers and staff on the way to help," Dungan said. 

He said the Red Cross has received enough clothes, so now it's the household items that the families may need the most.

Those donations can be dropped off at Trends (Kingdom Project) in Fulton, which can be found at 1223 S. Business, U.S. 54.