14-month-old boy dies in fire started by space heater

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A family is grieving after a 14-month-old baby boy is killed in a house fire in north St. Louis.

Family members identify the baby as Antuan Nelson.

Authorities say flames were already shooting from the building when fire crews arrived at the home at 25th and Glasgow around 2:15am Wednesday.

The fire was started by a space heater in the room where the baby was sleeping on the first floor of the three-story building. There was an apartment on each floor.

Family members of the baby say there were four people inside the first floor unit - Antuan, his father Demitrius Nelson, 39, Nelson`s girlfriend, and her four-year-old son. Everyone but the baby made it out of the building. The baby's father and firefighters both tried to get to the child, but the flames were too intense.
The Bomb and Arson Unit was called in to investigate.

Authorities say the primary heating source for the building, a gas furnace, appeared to be fairly new, but gas service had been shut off for quite a while according to family members. They tell us there were at least ten space heaters running in the first floor unit.

Authorities also say there were several smoke alarms in the home, but none had working batteries.

Family members say the baby`s father was taken to the hospital with second-degree burns to his face and neck. They describe him as so distraught by the baby`s death and his inability to rescue the child that he has been admitted to a local hospital`s psychiatric ward for his own protection.


If you need new batteries for your smoke detector, or a new smoke detector in your home, and you live in the city of St. Louis, you can call the fire department for help. They will replace your battery or install a new detector.

Call 314-533-3406

Find out more: http://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/public-safety/fire/smoke-detectors.cfm


1 Comment

  • Victoria Ryan-Bailey

    It hurts to see this every year as the cold snap comes in. Thankfully, the initial reporter quickly got to the heart of this story — the people had NO gas service in the home. There wouldn’t be need for space-heaters if Laclede Gas was required to turn gas on for poor customers during the cold weather rule. Right now, it is NOT mandatory in Missouri that gas service be turned on. So, if it’s already off, that means Laclede Gas can refuse to reconnect. So inevitably, more people WILL die. So I ask again, how can one person carry a $19,000 balance on a MACY’s credit card, but another cannot carry a $3,000 balance with Laclede Gas???? It’s all credit

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