3 children killed in St. Louis apartment fire
Police are seeking involuntary manslaughter, endangering and resisting arrest charges against the 23-year-old mother
By Jim Salter
ST. LOUIS — A fire that ravaged a St. Louis apartment where three small children were left alone has now claimed the lives of all three children, police said Tuesday.
Police said they were informed Tuesday that 4-year-old Heaven Coleman died. Six-month-old Damarion Eiland was found dead by firefighters who responded to the blaze Sunday at the Clinton-Peabody public housing complex. Five-year-old Dream Coleman died at a hospital Monday.
Police are seeking involuntary manslaughter, endangering and resisting arrest charges against the 23-year-old mother, who showed up at the apartment after the fire was put out.
But a spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said they have asked police to conduct additional interviews with witnesses and to gather more evidence. Prosecutors also are awaiting a report from the medical examiner.
"We have plenty of time to make sure this investigation is done properly and thoroughly," said Susan Ryan, Gardner's spokeswoman.
Neighbors who saw smoke tried in vain to get into the apartment — the thick smoke prevented them from getting inside.
The fire was the second since August in St. Louis in which children were left alone. Firefighters rescued four children in the August fire. Three were in cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. Both parents were charged with endangering.
In that fire, all four children were ages 4 or younger. They were found hiding from the fire in a playroom, including two in a play tent and one in a closet. Three of them were in cardiac arrest initially, but all four survived.