Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2001

Community’s acts of kindness transform apartment fire into positive experience

November 8, 2001

As Dianna Davis watched her Clearview City duplex burn last Thursday evening, she noticed she had escaped the apartment in her bare feet.

Clearview City Postmaster Sue Burton also took notice, Davis said.

"Sue said, 'Oh, you don't have any shoes,'" Davis said. "She stepped out of her shoes and gave them to me."

Burton's act of kindness was the first of many that have turned the event into what Davis now calls "the most wonderful experience I've had in my 55 years."

Davis said she was preparing supper last Thursday for a guest and her two daughters, ages 12 and 13 years, when the smoke alarm sounded. On investigation, she found the fire spreading rapidly and called 911.

The family lost a dog, cat and birds, but escaped unharmed. That, she said, was just the beginning of her blessings.

"It brought so many people out of the woodwork," Davis said. "It shows what God can do. Never once did I experience a moment of anxiety about what I would do."

The Clearview City and De Soto communities, the school district and her co-workers at Yellow Pages all pitched in to help her family recover from its loss, Davis said.

The complex's new owner Dave Rhodes offered Davis and her daughters a place to stay that night, said apartment manager Karen Sundquift.

"We had a unit open," she said. "Thankfully, the last tenants left it really clean."

Pastor Bruce Carriker of the Clearview City Village Church arranged to have the Dollar General Store stay open so that the church could fill the family's immediate needs, Davis said. The Victory Place Church of De Soto and its congregation also helped fill the family's needs, she said..

Davis said she moved to De Soto in May after her employer, Yellow Pages, closed its Topeka office and offered her a transfer. The experience proves she made the right decision to move, despite having to leave her husband during the work week, Davis said.

"The people of De Soto and Clearview City are awesome," she said. "I've got a full refrigerator. They've just filled my home like I never had a fire. It's the most wonderful experience I've had in my 55 years."

De Soto Fire Chief Kevin Ritter said the fire started in a closet in the Davis apartment. It's under investigation, he said. De Soto, Lenexa and Rural Fire District No. 3 units responded to the fire, he said.

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