Woman, children escape east side apartment fire

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Crews from Lawrence and IFD battled an early morning fire at an apartment building in the 9400 block of Meadowlark Drive, near 46th and Post.

Three residents and a firefighter were injured.  The firefighter was treated at the scene for injuries stemming from handling a ladder to help residents evacuate the building.

The three residents, a mother and her two young children, were taken to Community Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Twenty-four-year-old Latice Jackson told firefighters that she had been at her sister's house celebrating the New Year, and was dropped off at her apartment around 1:30 a.m. by a family member.  

She told firefighters she decided to cook French fries, but fell asleep as the grease was heating on the stove.  When she awoke, the first floor of her apartment was full of smoke and the kitchen was on fire.

Jackson said she had been drinking at her sister's house, and alcohol may have contributed to her drowsiness.  Once she regained clarity, she helped her children out of the second story window.

She dropped both children to awaiting neighbors and then climbed out the window herself.

Several people had evacuated the burning building when firefighters arrived shortly after 3:15 a.m. All people were accounted-for within 30 minutes.

Ten units are affected, three with serious damage.  Total damage was assessed at $150,000.

Some residents told Eyewitness News they were still awake when the fire broke out because of the New Year's Holiday. "I would usually be asleep at that time," said Garcia Madison, who was able to get out safely when the fire started.