EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Five children were killed in an overnight fire in East St. Louis.
The fire broke out at an apartment building at 29th and State streets before 3 a.m. Friday. Fire officials told News 4 the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Two children found inside of a bedroom were pronounced dead. Three children who were found on the floor in the kitchen area were pronounced dead after being taken out of the building. The children are between 2 and 9 years old.
“They are blameless in this. They’re just kids. It’s tough,” East St. Louis Assist. Fire Chief George McClellan said.
McClellan said the mother of the children left the home to go get another adult. He said the mother tried to go back into the house several times to rescue the children.
It’s hard when you have kids and family members and you can only imagine what this mother and father are going through right now. It’s a tough day,” said East St. Louis Jason Blackmon. “We want people to take fire seriously. Smoke alarms, turn off electronics at night, don’t burn candles, people take a lot of that stuff for granted. “
Multiple families lived in the building at the time the fire broke out. All of the children are from the same family. Other people who live in the building were not hurt. The building is now condemned. A woman who used to live in the building says it had no working smoke detectors when she lived there.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral costs and additional expenses.
The East St. Louis School District released the following statement about the fire:
Today the East St. Louis School District is grieving the loss of three students and their younger siblings. We send our sincere condolences to the family as they cope with this tragedy. We ask for respect and privacy as the family and our staff work through this significant loss.
Our crisis team was on the scene following the event and is partnering with the Red Cross and Community Life Line to provide ongoing support services. Counseling services will also be provided to classmates and staff.
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