ST. LOUIS - A third child has died after an apartment fire at the Clinton-Peabody Housing Complex. Tuesday afternoon investigators ruled the fire accidental and identified the mother as the one who was arrested for leaving them home alone. Fox 2/News 11 talked with the victim’s neighbor who ran into the burning building to try and save the kids.
Family and friends say the mother of the kids made an honest mistake and she is devastated after losing her children.,“We first heard crying and we were not sure where the crying was coming from,” said Mark Keifer.
Kiefer says it’s a day he will never forget. Keifer woke up to the sound of his neighbor's fire alarm going off Sunday and heavy flames at the Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Complex, “I kept hearing screaming and crying and stuff, I came from outside. I ran down the steps to see what was going on they were screaming and heavy fire,” said Kiefer.
He ran into the burning building to try and save the kids.
Police have now identified 4-year-old Heaven Coleman, 5-year-old Dream Coleman and 6-month-old Damarion as the victims. All died of their injuries. Family and friends are heartbroken, “That's something, an image that I can’t erase. I see these kids every single day. I see the mom it tugs on your heartstrings,” said Keifer.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney office released this statement: Prosecutors are working closely with police on this investigation. We have asked the police to conduct additional interviews with witnesses and gather additional evidence. We are also awaiting the medical examiner’s report. We will keep the public abreast of next steps.”
Family and friends say the mother of three made an honest mistake by leaving her kids alone.
“My sister was a great mother, everybody can say whatever they want to say. But until you are in these shoes and you come from where we come from and been through what we have been through you can’t say nothing about another person's situation. You never know what a person thinking. We are here to stand for our sister, we here and fighting with you,” said Jamie McCloud.
Police asked the Circuit Attorney to charge the mother Tuesday.
The Circuit Attorney Office saying they do not have the full story and want to continue to work with police to get the full picture of what happened. The family is trying to come to grips with the tragedy.
A vigil is planned Wednesday night.
An investigation is still ongoing with the St. Louis police department.