Two children die in Berkeley house fire

BERKELEY, MO (KTVI) – A family is in mourning in Berkeley, Missouri, after two young children were killed in a house fire early Monday morning.

This house fire happened on Airport Road just east of Interstate 170.

There were a total of five people in the home when the fire started. Investigators say the two children who died were 4-year-old  Stephen Towns, Jr. and 3-year-old Isiah Towns.

A four month old girl, Deja Towns, along with the mom and dad, identified as Steve and Cheronna Towns, made it out.

Firefighters got the call around 5:30am. When they got to the home, flames were already shooting from the house.

We’re told the parents had gotten out of the house with the infant girl by climbing out a bedroom window. But they couldn’t get to the other kids.

Firefighters tried to rescue the little boys, but it was too late.

Berkeley Fire Chief Henry Williams says crews forced their way into the home and found the two little boys already dead right by the front door.

Chief Williams believes the kids were trying to get out, but couldn’t, at least in part, because we’re told the door was locked with a deadbolt.

A family member tells us all three survivors went to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur. That relative says the dad is the most seriously injured with burns over about 30% of his body. He is listed in critical condition and is in the burn unit.

The mother also has burns and a broken shoulder. She is in serious condition.

We’re told the infant is in the best shape of all three survivors. She was admitted but is expected to be ok. The family says the baby is five months old.

The bomb and arson unit has been called in to help determine a cause for the fire.

We’re told gas had been cut off to the home and there was nothing suspicious about the fire on the surface.

A fundraising campaign has been set up to help the family on FundRazr.com, an online donation website. 

25 comments

  • Dazzette

    My friend was the one who tried to kick the door in and save them. There was a chain that she couldn’t get past. Prayers to the family and to her for what she had to see and hear trying to get them out. She feels so horrible because she couldn’t do anything. This whole situation is so terrible and sad. :(

  • firefighter1

    NOT ONLY PRAYING FOR THE FAMILY BUT ALSO THE FIREFIGHTERS ON THE SCENE OF THIS HORRIFIC TRAGEDY. AS THE STORY STATES, THIS IS THE WORST NIGHTMARE FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND EMS WORKERS.
    NOTHING WORSE THAN TRAINING TO SAVE PEOPLES LIVES AND HAVING LIVES AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE TAKEN… THERE IS A TERRIBLE FEELING OF HELPLESSNESS.
    GOD BLESS ALL INVOLVED

  • mstiff1978@gmail.com

    So sorry to hear about this. Lord please keep this family, firefighters, EMS, and everyone who tried to help in prayer.

  • Gloria mumford

    So sad for the family I was on my way to take my grandkids to school across the street my grandson teacher told my son I cried my heart goes out to them

  • Terry

    My heart is with those rescuers and attempted rescuers. Children are the losses we deal with the worst….Why was the gas off?

  • William Hall

    Horrible thing to happen and two kids die trying to get out. Just heart breaking and an investigation needs to be done alright, some questions need to be answered here for sure.

  • Carolyn

    Breaks our hearts. May this family know that our whole City mourns with them and for them. God’s love be with them all.

  • kraftig

    IF YOU ARE IN LIKE CIRCUMSTANES ,YOU CAN’T ALWAYS DO IT YOURSELF. LET SOMEONE KNOW. USING YOUR OWN DEVICES ISN’T ALWAYS YOUR SMARTIST DECISION.PRAYERS TO THE FAMILY

  • Amber rose

    It does not matter why the gas was cute off its 2 young kids gone that’s sad a mother or father should have to never she there child go like that 3 and 4 I can’t stop crying this family could have been any of us this stuff happen everyday and all the news can say is there gas was cut off that didn’t even need to be said prayers go out to the family I couldn’t imagine man tears

    • Heather R.

      Amber I am not sure of their intentions but I think they were trying to justify the cause of the fire. Looking at the interview they did with the police chief they were asking quesitons like were there working smoke detectors and were there space heaters in the home. Like I said in my comment. If the gas was off, it is neither here or there but it will bring awareness to the fact that utility companies are chopping people during a time when the weather is unstable and unbearable and it should be a crime against this. next week when the weather breaks a little, watch how many Laclede and Ameren trucks you see out there cutting people off only for the temps to drop back down the following week leaving people without a means to stay warm. SMH

  • nicole glenn

    May God keep, hold nd comfort the parents of these bby’s. Sad sad sad wen Anson Hughes texted me about what happened. My God sooo young, soooo precious. No-one knows how it feels to lose it bby let alone 2 bby’s. As another mother of 3 to a mother of 3 I’m soooo Sry hun :( words can’t express my sympathy. I don’t know u personally but Anson, Christy, so Albert them r my family by luv not blood. Prayers sent from my fam to it’s. #Osborne, Mitchell & Glenn fam extends our condolences.

  • Heather R.

    I grew up in and graduated from Berkeley and regardless of how the media tries to portray our community we are close knit and this right here hit home bc it could happen to any one of us without a moment’s notice. IF the gas was off, something needs to be done about the fact that in an economy as messed up as ours nobody is winning but the utility coporations. If it is found that space heaters may have been the cause of this, Laclede should be ashamed of themselves bc everybody who is without utilities is not without bc they don’t want to pay, its because they CAN’T. I so pray for this family. Looking at the pictures on the page of Stephen Sr. broke my heart as it is obvious he was about his family and really loved his boys. May GOD be with this family in its time of need :-(

    • Dianna n

      I also grew up and went to Berkeley…. I agree we are a close community regardless of what outsiders say about Berkeley, when something happens like this we do come together and help out like a family.

  • Deara M.

    My heart and my prayers goes out for you and your family. Continue to trust God. Know that he won’t put no more on you than you can bear. Hold to his unchanging hand and he will see you through this heartbreaking tragedy.

  • Loretta A. Lipsey

    Praying for God”s comfort and strength for the parents in the loss of their precious children, recovery from their injuries and the loving support of family, friends and community during the days and months ahead. Blessings to those who tried to intervene; may God give you his peace.

  • Mike Green

    This was horrific. What a tragic loss. I will agree with what Heather R said about cutting off the gas supply when it’s this cold, if that was the case. It’s time for Laclede to wake up and see that people need to keep warm and that they are burning their houses down with space heaters or with some other type of heat. It should not happen. As much money as they charge for gas, some of it should go to people that can’t quite afford the bill for a few months to keep bad stuff like this from happening.

  • jaleeyah davis

    my little sister was strong enough that she didnt cry those were her brothers and her grandma told her u know u cant see them right she said yes i am when i got to heaven this does not seem real

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