UPDATE: A suspect was taken into custody in connection with this fire. Police say the suspect is a 23-year-old woman. The identity of the suspect has not been released by police.
ST. LOUIS – Early Sunday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. a 6-month-old baby boy was killed, and two children critically injured in a fire in south St. Louis. The blaze broke out in the 1100 block of Kealty Lane in a three-story apartment building located in the Peabody Apartment Complex.
The St. Louis Fire Department says the children had been left at home alone at the time of the fire.
Residents in the area saw smoke coming from the building and attempted to rescue the children but were unable to do so because of a locked door. The neighbors gained access after breaking down the door but were forced back due to the heavy smoke.
Leonadry Parks, Frank Otis and Chaz Israel live near the unit. When they saw smoke the tried to see if anyone needed help. Parks said the door was locked and deadbolted, but he kicked it about a dozen times until he could get inside. Israel said, “When I first came up the steps there was like a big, big cloud of smoke.”
Parks said he broke down in tears when he heard a child had died. He said, “I tried my best to save them.”
Firefighters arriving on the scene went into the apartment and found the infant deceased in a bedroom and the other children in a back room. Officials say the injured children are 4 and 5-years-old.
St. Louis Fire Capt. Leon Whitener said, “Children this age should not be left alone.”
The fire is being investigated by the Regional Bomb and Arson unit, along with the fire department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.