Fire Chief Jason Blackmon confirmed five children died, telling CNN that firefighters were able to rescue three before they died of smoke inhalation. Two children died inside the structure, two in an ambulance, and one on the way to the hospital, Blackmon said.
Multiple families lived in the building, but KMOV reported that all of the children were from the same family.
“They are blameless in this. They’re just kids. It’s tough,” Assistant Fire Chief George McClellan told the station.
The mother had left home to pick someone up, McClellan said. When she returned, she tried to enter the burning building several times to rescue the children.
No one else was hurt in the fire, KMOV reported. Fire officials said the cause remains under investigation.