by Dustin Hodges and Mike Landis, KY3 News
11:43 AM CST, February 23, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Police and fire officials continue to investigate a house fire in which a woman and two children were found dead. The fire started around 9 o'clock Saturday morning in the 1400 block of North Texas Avenue.
The Springfield Police Department is assisting with the investigation. They are looking into both the cause of death and the cause of the fire. They said it could not yet be determined that the fire is what killed the three people.
Neighbors said they did what they could to try to get to the people inside.
"I was driving back to the house and I seen smoke up in the sky," said Josh Valloton, who detoured toward the house to see if he could help. "Immediately I got out and went to the door and started banging on it. There was no answer, and I seen the fire coming from the side, so I went to the side back door and tried to bang on it."
With still no answer, not knowing if anyone was in the house, Valloton and neighbors feared the worst.
"I went to open that front door, I opened the front door, and I was hit with a cloud of pure black smoke," said Valloton.
"There was black smoke; it was just scary because my heart, like my mind, was saying, 'the kids, the kids, the kids,'" said Yoelonda Hicks, a neighbor.
Valloton added that smoke detectors were blaring.
Despite neighbors' best efforts, it was too late to save the people inside.
"Any time it's children, that's your first instinct as a mother is to protect the children," said Hicks.
Copyright © 2013, KY3-TV