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Child dies in house fire in Webster County Monday afternoon

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 2:42 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 11:15 AM CST
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NEAR ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - Firefighters say a child died in a house fire Monday afternoon near Rogersville, Mo.

Several fire departments responded to the fire around 1:30 p.m. on Ozark Church Road off Missouri Route B.

Investigators say a grandfather was watching Kellan Michael Harper, 3, in the home when the fire started. The grandfather suffered serious burns. Firefighters found two dogs dead inside the home.

“We could see smoke from Rogersville when we left,” said Fire Chief Richard Stirts.

Stirts said when crews arrived a man in his 60′s was on the ground outside of the home. He said the man crawled out of the burning trailer, and was transported to a local hospital.

”We did an initial search and could not find the child, we did find two dogs who did not make it,” Stirts said.

Stirts said Harper’s body was in a bathroom.

”You can only imagine the grief that family is going through to lose a child,” Stirts said. “No matter who you are, the loss of a child is hard on fireman, it’s hard on the family, it’s hard on police. It’s hard on everybody.”

The home was located about seven miles north of Rogersville off of Highway B, near Panther Creek.

”The biggest difficulty is the drive time,” the fire chief said.

The fire protection district called on its neighbors for help getting to the fire as quickly as possible. Stirts said in this type of situation, it feels like it takes an eternity to get to a scene.

”We’re on end nerves trying to get here as fast as we can trying to save somebody’s life and that’s the tragic thing that we deal with and the reality of living in a rural area,” Stirts said.

While the investigation into what caused the fire continues, the fire chief stressed the importance of having a working smoke detector.

”Have your escape plans available, we all take for granted if we have a fire we’re just going to run outside the house or jump out a window or whatever, well it’s not that easy when the home is filled with smoke, heat, [and] there is mass chaos happening,” Stirts said. “So discuss that with your children and make sure they know we’re going to meet out by the big oak tree or we’re going to meet by wherever. "

Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire.

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