JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Firefighters praised neighbors’ rescue efforts for a house fire that claimed the life of a 3-year-old on Tuesday.

Firefighters responded to a call around 7:30 a.m. to a home in the 3100 block of Diamond Drive in High Ridge. Neighbors tried to run into the burning residence to help.

“Black, dark smoke from the ground to the ceiling,” said Chris Kelly, a neighbor. “At one point, the floor gave in, and there was a backdraft, and I backed out, and it was too late.”

“When we received the report of the fire, we also were reported to be with rescue,” said Chief John Barton, of the High Ridge Fire District. “One victim was located inside the building. There was an adult female and a child outside the building, and another child was still inside when we arrived on the scene.”

The 5-year-old child and the mother were transported to the hospital for possible smoke inhalation. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department was thanking nearby neighbors for their efforts. The neighbors were working to secure the mobile home.

“Our first truck arrived, and there were neighbors with a garden house, and extinguisher trying to put out the fire in the front of the building which where they believed the child was,” Barton said. “We had heavy fire coming from the front door of the structure and one of the rooms. The windows were broken out, and we had fire coming out the windows. A lot of neighbors did everything they could to try and assist, but unfortunately, the fire just spread too rapidly.”

Authorities confirmed that 3-year-old Kaiden Strubberg died in the fire. The sheriff’s office crime scene analysts are working with the state fire marshal’s office to identify the cause of the fire.

“Just say a prayer for the mother,” said Kenneth Brewer, a neighbor. “She’s going to need it. I mean, losing a 3-year-old, I couldn’t imagine.”