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.
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.
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.
Fire investigators say that a High Ridge home that caught fire this morning, was under foreclosure. More than 30 firefighters responded to the scene and found the body of 24-year-old Charles Odell in the burned out home. KMOV reports that kerosene heaters were found in the house and the home's gas supply had previously been shut off. Odell was alone in the house at the time of the fire. EARLIER:
Jefferson County fire investigators are trying to find out how a High Ridge home caught fire this morning--killing a man in his mid 20's.
The two-alarm blaze was reported at about 4 a.m.near the end of Ridge Road, off of New Sugar Creek Road north of Highway 30.
Tom Lakin, deputy chief of the High Ridge Fire Protection District, said a neighbor reported hearing what sounded like an explosion. When firefighters arrived, they saw the single-family home engulfed in flames, with fire coming through the roof. The man's body was found under debris after the roof collapsed.
More than 30 firefighters from five departments were on the scene. No firefighters were injured.