Firefighters blitz neighborhood with smoke detectors, following fire that critically injured 5

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NORTH ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The St. Louis Fire Department returned to the neighborhood where 11 people were inside a house with no working smoke detector early this week to distribute free smoke detectors to anyone who needed them.

Firefighters are trying to prevent more fires like this one from happening.

The St. Louis City Fire Department conducted the smoke detector blitz Saturday morning going door to door offering to install the devices in the 4609 block of Evans in North St. Louis following the fire that broke out early Tuesday morning.

When firefighters arrived they saw heavy smoke pouring from the building with a report of people trapped.

Firefighters say at least 11 people were inside the townhouse, with 2 adults and 5 children being critically injured.

The children injured ranged in age from 10 months to 5-years-old.

The investigation suggests the fire was started by a child playing with a lighter. "It’s imperative if occupants are not notified in time that there is a fire in the home, they are not going to get out in time,” said Captain Leon Whitener.

Investigators say the home had a smoke detector, but no batteries were inside the device.

We are told all of the victims are expected to survive.

Authorities encourage anyone needing a smoke detector to contact their local fire department; they'll install the alarm free of charge.