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Four children died when a fire ripped through a condominium complex overnight in central Missouri, officials said early Wednesday.
Firefighters from the Osage Beach Fire Department responded to a call shortly before midnight Tuesday and found a fourth-floor unit at Compass Pointe condos engulfed in flames, the department told NBC affiliate KYTV.
"It's a tough one for anybody to get over"
Osage Beach Fire Chief Jeffrey Dorhauer told NBC News that two adults were in a third-floor window and firefighters were able to safely rescue them with the help of a ladder. He said four children were trapped on the fourth floor.
"We were able to knock the fire down quickly enough to get inside and make a recovery on the children but none of the four did make it," he said.
It took nearly 60 firefighters more than five hours to put out the blaze, according to Dorhauer.
The children — believed to be between the ages of 2 and 5 years old — were pronounced dead at a local hospital. Dorhauer did not identify the victims but said they were in some way related, adding that crisis teams will be made available to the firefighters who responded to the scene.
“We all have children," he said. "It’s a tough one for anybody to get over."
NBC News affiliate KOMU reported that the victims were cousins celebrating one of the children's birthdays.
Dorhauer said it was too early to say what caused the fire and that the state fire marshal was assisting the investigation. All eight units in the building sustained damage in the fire, according to NBC affiliate KOMU.