All 3 children dead after St. Louis apartment fire; woman in custody

Police have not identified the 23-year-old woman taken into custody or her relationship to the children.

Associated Press
October 21, 2019 - 3:08 pm
Fire Truck

KMOX/Brian Kelly


ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) — The Sunday fire at the Clinton-Peabody housing complex has now claimed the lives of all three children who were left alone in the home.

Police say 5-year-old Dream Coleman died Tuesday morning, after 4-year-old Heaven Coleman died Monday and 6-month-old Damarion Eiland died Sunday.

A woman is in custody but hasn't been identified. Police say the children were home alone.

Police are seeking involuntary manslaughter, endangering and resisting arrest charges against the 23-year-old mother, who showed up at the apartment after the fire was put out.

But a spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said they have asked police to conduct additional interviews with witnesses and to gather more evidence. Prosecutors also are awaiting a report from the medical examiner.

"We have plenty of time to make sure this investigation is done properly and thoroughly,'' said Susan Ryan, Gardner's spokeswoman.

KMOX's previous reporting: 

A second child has died as a result of a fire that tore through an apartment in the Clinton-Peabody complex Sunday afternoon.

Today, St. Louis police are reporting a 5-year-old girl has now died from her injuries. Sunday, a 6-month-old was reported dead. Two other children, including the 5-year-old, were critically injured. Firefighters saved the girls, but the infant had died by the time they got to him. His name was not released.

The fire started in a residence in the 1100 block of South 14th Street. All three children had been left alone in the third-floor apartment.

Police say a 23-year-old woman has been taken into custody, though her relationship to the children is not known.

Child Abuse and Bomb and Arson are investigating the case.

A neighbor, Chaz Isreal, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was with friends in a nearby apartment when they realized there was a fire. They ran to the apartment building and one of the men kicked in the door.

Isreal said he put on a painter's mask and tried to go inside, but the smoke was too thick.

"I tried but I couldn't get through,'' he said.

In August, firefighters rescued four children from a burning St. Louis home and charged both parents with endangering their welfare. Authorities say those children had been left home alone.

Related: Mother charged after firefighters rescued 4 young children from burning apartment

In that fire, all four children were ages 4 or younger. They were found hiding from the fire in a playroom, including two in a play tent and one in a closet. Three of them were in cardiac arrest initially, but all four survived. 

© 2019 KMOX/Associated Press (Entercom). All rights reserved