DESOTO, Mo. — An early Sunday morning house fire left four people dead and two others seriously burned in small community of De Soto, Missouri.
Firefighters got the 911 call shortly after 2 a.m. from a person who was on the second floor of the home.
Fire crews arriving on the scene were met by two badly burned victims who had just jumped from second-floor windows, said Stephen Orr, spokesman for the De Soto Rural Fire Protection District.
The two survivors were taken to separate burn centers in St. Louis while crews battled the four-alarm blaze and searched for those still inside.
"One of the things that made it really challenging is — besides just getting those victims in the yard, of course, the burn victims and they transported them right away — was knowing they had four victims inside, trying to make access, and the stairs from the first to the second floor had burned through already. So the firefighters had to use ground ladders from the exterior and make access to the second floor through the outside windows," Orr said.
Four adults were found dead, along with the family's dog.
Fifteen fire departments battled the blaze, which was extinguished at 5 a.m. The cause is under investigation.
De Soto is a city of about 6,300 people some 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis.