JENNINGS, Mo. – Investigators believe a lit cigarette caused a house fire in Jennings that claimed the lives of an elderly woman and her grandson Sunday.
The victims have been identified as 86-year-old Annie Simms and 39-year-old Michael Simms.
Family members say four people were in the home when the fire broke out.
Annie’s son and a family friend escaped unharmed.
”My father made it out safe. Please pray for him,” Jessica Simms Miller said. “It’s hard. Me and my sister just lost my mother and it hit him hard as well, now he lost his mother and nephew.”
Investigators say the fire was started by a cigarette and was ruled as accidental by the Bomb and Arson Unit.
Annie and Michael both had health problems that restricted their mobility.
“Obviously he could not get out either but it shows from the evidence that he was trying to get his grandmother out. He was not mobile either,” said Albert Andersen, a neighbor.
Annie was known as the grandmother of the community and would always help others out.
A makeshift memorial is on Clifton Avenue in front of the home. People have been stopping by to place flowers and balloons on it to show their support.
A GoFundMe has been established to help pay for the funerals.