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Joplin Family Looks for Assistance After Apartment Fire - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Family Looks for Assistance After Apartment Fire

Updated:
Courtesy:  Joplin Fire Dept. Courtesy: Joplin Fire Dept.
Joplin, MO -

UPDATE -- 

Prosecutors have charged a suspect in the late night house fire on South St. Louis.

Police say 41-year-old Brian Barksdale is charged with first degree arson in the fire that displaced one family that lives directly above Barksdale's Apartment.

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Joplin police are investigating whether a man set an apartment unit on fire after a confrontation with his girlfriend.  Now, one family is trying to salvage what they can to rebuild their lives.

Police say they responded to the apartment fire shortly after 10 last night. 

"I don't understand it," says Francisco Gonzalez, who lived above the unit that police say was intentionally set on fire.  "The neighbor from number four started to kick (my door), then I woke up and ran to the door."

Police say the man who lived in the unit below Gonzalez was upset.

"As far as his reason or motivation for setting the fire, that's information we just aren't releasing at this time," says Captain Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department.

According to neighbors, the man got into an altercation with his significant other.

Gonzalez says he heard from neighbors that the man was telling other people to not wake up his family.  "He was like, don't wake them up, they know it's on fire, let them burn.  I would've died.  I'm a heavy sleeper, my fiancé takes melatonin because she has a sleep disorder, and my daughter is one of the heaviest sleepers I've ever met."

Gonzalez's three and a half year old daughter can be heard in the background of cell phone video he took of the fire.

"She will cry every minute.  She doesn't really know what to think," says Gonzalez.

Gonzalez and his family didn't have renters insurance.  They were happy enough with being able to pay for a place to stay.  "We were affording it, being responsible, doing the right thing.  Somebody just took that from us," says Gonzalez.

...It'll be a long road to get back that independence.  In the meantime, the Red Cross is giving assistance to the Gonzalez family. 

The suspect has been arrested for first degree arson.  No injuries were reported.  You can call our station at (620) 231-0400 to learn how to donate to the Gonzalez family.

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