Two dead after house fire in north St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– A north St. Louis house fire took the lives of two victims Monday night.  Family members wonder if a space heater is to blame.  Firefighters have not determined what caused the fire on the 5700 block of Bartmer.  The department received a 911 call just before 6pm.

Relatives identified the victims as 62-year-old Thomas McKinney and his 80-year-old aunt, Dorothy L. Jones.   McKinney`s sister, Karen McKinney, said she worried about her aunt using a space heater.  The 3-story house was tough to keep warm.

“The house got really airy,” said neighbor Kenneth Ball.  Ball said he knew McKinney dating back to school days at Soldan High School.  “We played music together.”

One neighbor said firefighters kicked in the door before pulling out McKinney`s body.

“They had just remodeled the home last year,” said Lavell Cardine.  He said firefighters were battling heavy flames.  They also battled ice as water runoff from dousing the flames froze in the street.

Capt. Dan Sutter said police and the fire department investigate any fire involving a fatality.  He said it was too soon to say how the fire started.  He also declined to speculate on where the fire started.

“At this time we searched and found no working smoke detectors,” said Sutter.  “That will be part of our investigation as we go through the home.”

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