Five children died and three adults were injured when fire destroyed a two-story house in southeast Missouri’s Bootheel early Thursday, authorities said.
The five siblings, ages 1 through 8, were in an upstairs bedroom when the fire broke out around 4:15 a.m., Steele Police Chief Michael Tomlinson said.
In all, 18 people were asleep in the house when the children’s grandmother awoke and began screaming for everyone to get out, Tomlinson said.
Investigators were looking for the cause of the blaze. There were no smoke detectors in the house, Tomlinson said.
The victims were identified as Antonio Amerson, 7; Jerome Finley Jr., 5;, Destiny Kinnon, 3; Malik Marquan Amerson, 2; and Shayla Adrianna Amerson, 21 months.
Kesha Kinnon, the children’s 26-year-old mother, was taken to Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems in Hayti, where she was treated and released, Tomlinson said.
Two other adults were taken to Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis, Tenn.
Rufus Amerson Jr., 32, the father of three of the children, injured his neck and back jumping from a second-story window, and another relative, 19-year-old Toni Wynne, sustained second- and third-degree burns to her arms and upper body.
Tomlinson identified those in the house as two grandparents, two daughters, 12 grandchildren, the father of three of the children and a family friend.