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Kansas City charity helping victims of deadly Columbia apartment fire


A Kansas City-based charity is helping the family that lost two children in an apartment fire early Wednesday.

Phoenix Family has established a fund to help the family who lived in a Columbia Square Apartments townhome that caught fire with 11 children and one adult inside. Two of the children, identified by a family member as Ta’niyah Pate, 4, and Jyneisha Washington, 7, died in the fire.

Phoenix Family helps people in poverty with a variety of programs, according to the organization's website.

The executive director for the central northern Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross added that local teams helped the family after the fire. Volunteers provided them with clothing, food, shelter and whatever else they needed she said.

"It's really important to families and communities that, that they know that there's somebody there to be there," Rebecca Gordon said. "This time of year, house fires actually increase and so we really make sure that our volunteers are ready and up to speed and that we're available to families in crisis."

Photos courtesy of family.

All of the people inside were family. It wasn't clear whether all of them were permanent residents of the townhome.

Columbia Square Apartments includes two- and three-bedroom townhomes. Columbia Fire Chief Clayton Farr Jr. said at a news conference Wednesday the townhome had two stories and at least two bedrooms.

Three children were taken to a hospital for treatment, city officials said Wednesday. The adult and six other children declined treatment. Eight other people were safely evacuated from other units in the same building.

Jyneisha Washington is the child of Jason Washington, 49, who is missing and was last seen in west Columbia in October.

Farr said no smoke detectors were found on the second floor of the townhome. There was a smoke detector on the first floor of the home, but the device wasn't working.

The two children were students at Columbia Public Schools, which was providing counseling to students and staff who needed it, Farr said Wednesday.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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