A fire accompanied by a reported explosion injured five people at a home in the 2000 block of West Mount Vernon Street on Thursday afternoon.  Ambulances took two adults and three children to hospitals.

Natalie Modglin, who was in a car in the parking lot of a nearby nursing home, says a violent explosion shook her car about 2 p.m.  She then saw a woman crawling out of the house and screaming for help, followed by a man on fire who ran out the front of the house.  Modglin and a man than ran to the backyard and grabbed two children in diapers and took them to a car.

Firefighters couldn't confirm an explosion caused the fire but multiple witnesses report there was an explosion.  A spokeswoman for the Springfield Fire Department said witnesses may have heard the normal popping sounds of a big fire instead of an explosion.  Firefighters say they could not find the ignition source.

Emergency responders found the two adults with third-degree burns over most of their bodies in the yard outside the home.  They also found the two children in Modglin's car nearby.  They appear to have suffered smoke inhalation.  Later, firefighters learned a third child was taken from the home to a neighbor's house by a third adult who was in the home.

The adults are in the burn unit at Mercy Hospital in critical condition.  They are a 28-year-old woman and 31-year-old man.  The children have apparently minor injuries and were being observed in an emergency room late in the afternoon.  They are ages 1, 2, and 5. 

The fire was near Lafontaine Avenue, a couple of blocks west of Kansas Expressway.   The smoke from the fire was visible several miles away. 

Neighbors of the burned home saw flames coming out the windows.  The inside and much of the outside of the home is blackened by the flames.  The home is destroyed.


Natalie Modglin works in the digital sales department of KY3 Inc.  She was visiting someone in the nursing home when the fire occurred.