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   The St. Francois County Sheriff's Office is now investigating Monday's fatal fire near Park Hills as a double homicide.

   Firefighters arrived about 4:30 a.m. to find the home on Halter Lane fully involved.  Authorities say flames were too intense to try to attempt a rescue.  

  Firefighters later found the body 50 year old Stanley Halter on a back porch and that of 46 year old Tammy Halter in the kitchen.  The couples children were not home at the time of the fire.  

   Authorities aren't releasing the couples cause of death, only saying that the autopsies gave them reasonable cause to pursue a homicide investigation.

   Park Hills is about 65 miles south of St. Louis.

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 13:11

Investigators ID boys who died in house fire

Investigators have identified the two young boys who died in a house fire Monday morning.

 

Firefighters were called to the house in the 8200 block of Airport Road before 6 AM Monday. Stephen and Cheronna Towns, as well as their 4-month-old daughter Deja, managed to escape the blaze through a bedroom window. Firefighters extinguished the fire and found the bodies of 3-year-old Isaiah Towns and 4-year-old Stephen Towns Jr. in the house.

 

Stephen Towns received critical burns from the fire when he tried to save the young boys. Several space heaters were found inside the home, and officials say they may have contributed to the fire. The investigation is ongoing.

Published in Local News
Monday, 10 February 2014 07:23

Two children dead after house fire

Two children are dead and two others hurt after house fire in North County Monday morning.

 

Fire crews were called to a home on Airport Road just east of I-270 in Berkeley areound 5:30 this morning. After the blaze was extinguished, firefighters searched the home and found the children dead in the house.

 

A third child and an adult were taken to the hospital in unknown condition.

 

Authorities have no identified the victims and the cause of the fire is unclear. 

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:38

Neighbors save disabled teen from house fire

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two neighbors and a police officer are credited with rescuing a disabled teen from a burning home in north St. Louis County.

Firefighters say the teen, who uses a wheelchair and can't talk, was trapped in the home when an apparent electrical fire broke out early Tuesday. The child's mother was in the room screaming for help moving the teen as the house filled with smoke.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that neighbors Kendall Wilkes and his cousin, Lamar Wilkes, crawled through the bedroom window and wrapped blankets around the girl before handing her out the window to a police officer who had just arrived. The officer wasn't identified.

The Wilkes cousins also then helped the mother get out through the same window. No injuries were reported.

Published in Local News

The 7-year-old Mehlville boy who died in a house fire on Monday, will be laid to rest this week.

Brian Davis was the only family member who died in the blaze. Visitation for Brian is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday at St. Mathias Church on Buckley Road.

His funeral will be Friday morning. Brian's grandmother and sister escaped the fire.

Published in Local News
Monday, 21 October 2013 17:30

Man and his dog die in house fire

A man and his dog are dead after a house fire in St. Ann.

Firefighters found the 54 year-old man on the floor of his bedroom. Officials say the fire began in a chair in the living room--a place where relatives say he often smoked. Investigators believe the fire could have been started by a dropped cigarette. The Post-Dispatch reports that relatives say the man may have been overcome by smoke while he searched for his dog. 

 

Published in Local News

   A third person has succumbed to injuries from Tuesday's early morning house fire in Mehlville.  The St. Louis County Medical Examiner reports that 11 year old Macy Gapsch died from her injuries Wednesday evening.    

   Maci’s great-grandmother, 79 year old Georgette Gapsch had died around noon Wednesday.  The girl's father, 38-year-old Terry "T.J." Gapsch had died Tuesday morning.  

   The only survivor, Maci’s 13 year old sister, Mia Gapsch had escaped the burning home and ran to neighbor's house to get help.  She's in satisfactory condition.

   Investigators say the fire began in the basement of the home.  But the exact cause is still under investigation.

 
Published in Local News

Four siblings killed in a Randolph County, Illinois house fire that prosecutors say was intentionally set are about to be laid to rest.

Services are scheduled for this afternoon at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Steeleville for 12-year-old Ethan Owen and his siblings, 9-year-old Kailey Owen and 5-year-old twins Brandon Owen and Landon Owen.

 The Randolph County coroner says the children died of apparent smoke inhalation during the fire early last Friday at their home in Percy. The village is located about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. Their parents managed to escape.

33-year-old Derrick Twardoski faces four counts of first-degree murder in the case. During a court appearance Monday, Twardoski wept while he pleaded not guilty, was denied bond and was assigned a public defender to represent him.  

 
Published in Local News

 The man accused of setting the Randolph County house fire that killed four children has pleaded not guilty.

33-year-old Derrick Twardoski is facing murder charges after allegedly setting the fire that killed 12-year-old Ethan Owen, 9-year-old Kailey Owen, and five-year-old twins Brandon and Landon Owen in Percy, a village 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. A judge ordered him jailed without bond and assigned him to be represented by a public defender.   State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says he doesn't consider the fire random, though he's declined to detail what led investigators to Twardoski or any relationship he may have had with the victims.

Randolph County Coroner Randy Dudenbostel has confirmed that all four died of smoke inhalation.  

Funeral services for the children will be Tuesday at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Steelville, Illinois.  

Donation are being accepted at the church to help the family with their expenses.  

The funeral service for the Owen children has been planned. It will be held Tuesday, May 14, at 2:00pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Steeleville, IL, with visitation Monday evening from 4:00pm until 8:00pm and again Tuesday from 7:30am until 1:45pm also at the church.

 
Published in Local News
A 6-year-old boy has died from injuries he got in a North County house fire.

Just before 11 Wednesday morning, firefighters were called to the house, just north of I-70 off Union, after neighbors reported an explosion. Rescuers pulled the boy from the home and rushed him to the hospital, where he died this afternoon.

Investigators say the family was using space heaters in the home and had no working smoke detectors. The rest of the family escaped the fire.
Published in Local News
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