Father charged with child endangerment following apartment fire

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Keith Witherspoon Jr.

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ST. LOUIS – A 33-year-old father of four was charged with leaving his kids unattended in their apartment before a fire.

The fire took place on the afternoon of August 15 in the 1300 block of Ohio.

Someone called firefighters to tell them that smoke was coming from an apartment around 12:40 p.m. St. Louis firefighters responded quickly and were at the scene just after 1 p.m. The blaze was under control by around 1:20 p.m.

The fire was in the front portion of the apartment. The children were hiding in the back of the residence. The distance between the fire and the playroom where the children were hiding helped them survive the fire. Firefighters found two of the kids hiding in a closet, one in a play tent, and another in a doorway.

Two of the kids were identified as 18-month-old twins.

Fire officials said three of the children were in cardiac arrest when they were pulled from the apartment building but were eventually breathing on their own. All four children were hospitalized.

Investigators determined the children’s father, identified as Keith Witherspoon Jr., had left the kids unattended in the apartment for an extended period of time before the fire.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged Witherspoon with four felony counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

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