ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – “There’s kids in the house!” Nichole Thomas said. “There’s kids in the house!”
Neighbors in the 6600 block of Parker Road rushed out to see if they could help after hearing a loud boom. Thomas captured video of the aftermath on her phone.
Four people died in the explosion, which took place Friday around 1:20 a.m.
“I heard a big boom and I asked my daughter what that was,” said neighbor Lynette King. “I start seeing people running down the street and I could see people calling for help. So, I ran back in the house and got my fire extinguisher.”
The Black Jack Fire Department reported the fire appeared to have started in the garage.
St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson detectives and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the explosion. On Sunday, Spire confirmed that a gas leak had not caused the explosion.
Diamonte Cooks had come home from work around 11:45 p.m. Thursday and had gone to sleep for the night when he was awakened by the blast.
“When I was asleep, I heard a big boom,” Cooks said. “My bed flew through the air and I hit my head on the ceiling, and everything was falling down and when I looked over, I could see the garage and the front. And I could see everything. And it’s usually not like that unless I have my door open.”
Cooks helped his mother out of the house, kicking debris out of the way.
Eighteen-year-old Damario Cooks and his cousin, 16-year-old Travell Eason, lived at the home and died in the explosions. Their friends, 21-year-old William Jones and 17-year-old Christopher Jones, were also killed.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged 37-year-old Terrell Cooks and 43-year-old Seneca Mahan with murder.
Authorities said Cooks and Mahan made fireworks and showed the younger people how to load the canisters and attach a fuse for lighting.
On Sunday, neighbors and friends stopped by to bring supplies to the surviving family members.
“We lost something,” Cooks said. “We lost someone. We’ll never be the same for a minute.”
Neighbors and friends have established a GoFundMe page for the victims of the home explosion.