Police ID Woman Killed In Suspicious House Fire

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Neighbors risked their lives trying to save a woman from a south St. Louis fire early Wednesday morning. The victim was found lifeless in the living room. Homicide detectives joined the fire investigation.

St. Louis Fire Captain Dan Sutter said a witness called 911 around 12:30 a.m.  The caller reported seeing smoke.  Before crews got to the house on Giles Avenue near Liermann Avenue, two neighbors headed for the home`s side door.

"We made it about 20 feet into the house.  The smoke was too thick," Kyle Anderson remembered.  "So we had to leave the house.  Made one more attempt to go in and find anybody or hear anything.  We couldn't find or hear anything.  Shortly after, the firefighters showed up."  

Crews quickly knocked down what looked like a minor blaze in the single-family brick home.  

"When firefighters arrived on-scene, they made entry into the building," Sutter said.  "They extinguished the fire, where they found one victim."

Police say 49-year-old Brinda G. Babcock was dead inside the house. Her death has been classified as a homicide. The cause of death has not been released yet.

Another strange, and tragic, detail:

"There was a working smoke detector in the home," Sutter explained.  "When firefighters arrived, they could hear it alarming."

Both Bomb and Arson and Homicide are investigating the suspicious circumstances of the fire. Police began investigating when the woman died in such a small fire when the home had working smoke detectors.

Anderson said the woman`s roommate had just come home from work and saw the house on fire.  He also said he never met the victim.  Still, Anderson was shaken that he could not save her.  He ran in that house for a stranger, even though he was still struggling with losing his mother in-law last weekend.  She passed away an hour after he got married.

'I hope if it were me in a burning house, someone would do it for me,' he explained.  'You never know the impact of the life you will save.'

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