Family of 5 escapes as fire rips through home near Ste. Genevieve

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ST. MARY, MO (KTVI)- A mother, father and their three young children are airlifted to St. Louis hospitals after their home catches fire. It happened overnight in the small town of St. Mary near Ste Genevieve. Seven people-all members of the same family- were living in the home on Third Street in St. Mary when the fire started about midnight. All of them got out safely but five of the family members, a 33-year-old man, his 30-year-old wife and their three children ages 3, 6 and 10 suffered smoke inhalation.

They were all sleeping upstairs near where the fire started.

The mother and her three kids ran across the street and pounded on Carl Wyatt`s door for help. "I looked out the window and saw a woman and three kids. They were so sewt covered that I didn`t recognize them. Opened the door and they wanted me to call 911 and I did. Got them in the house, they was all inhaling smoke and they were coughing and gagging, their mother was burnt a little bit," said Wyatt, who is a former mayor and alderman in St. Mary and at one time served on the St. Mary fire department.

Terri Lynch, a relative to the family in the home, added, "It just tears you up, it just tears you up, there`s no way that a person should go through this stuff here."

When fire crews arrived, flames were already pouring out of the second floor. Investigators believe the fire started in a second story corner bedroom where the two older children were sleeping. The St. Mary Fire Chief, Curtis Otte, thinks a propane space heater could be to blame. "We have understood that there was a space heater in there. Now whether the space heater completely is the root of the cause we`re not 100 percent sure yet," said Otte.

All seven people who were in the house were already outside when fire crews arrived. The five who were hurt were taken by ambulance to Ste Genevieve County Memorial Hospital then airlifted to St. Louis hospitals. They were conscious and alert when they were taken from the scene.

Hours after the fire was originally put out, crews returned for part of the home that rekindled.

Many people hoping for the best for the family. Prayers is what`s going to help these people. Prayers,' said lynch. The husband and wife are listed in fair condition at a hospital while the three and ten year olds are in critical condition. The six year old did not need to be admitted to a hospital. The two people who weren`t hurt were a 54-year-old woman and a 62-year-old man who were sleeping in another room downstairs.

Nothing suspicious was found at the scene.

The State Fire Marshal has been called in to help with the investigation.