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Police: 2 children, 3 others injured in Northland house fire

By CHRIS OBERHOLTZ, EMILY RITTMAN

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — Two juveniles believed to be under 11 years old have died and two people are in critical condition following a Northland house fire. A fifth victim is believed to be in stable condition.

The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department’s Bomb and Arson squad along with additional detectives and crime scene personnel are handling this investigation.

The victims’ names and ages were not immediately available.

“It’s going to be a different neighborhood,” neighbor Mark Garner said. “It’s not going to be the same without him.”

On Wednesday, neighbors held a moment of silence and prayed for the family whose home caught fire near Avalon Street and NW 72nd Terr. Around 11 a.m., the fire spread through the home that was shared by a man, woman and their children.

Neighbors are struggling to help their children and grandchildren cope with the loss of a friend.

“My granddaughter let me know the house was on fire and she was hysterical,” neighbor Rachel Willard said.

She says neighbors were devastated when they learned a child they know very well and another person that lived at the home did not survive.

“He was just here yesterday and they were having a good ol’ time,” Willard said. “They played soccer, kickball and bikes were being ridden constantly. He was a big part of their lives.”

Garner says his son also played with the child often.

“This kid was like the kind of kid out of The Sandlot. He was active, rough and tumble, and good-hearted,” Garner said. “It’s rare to have kids that are that kindhearted and tenderhearted and just play with a bunch of kids that are different ages.”

Neighbors say firefighters ran into the burning home to carry the children who were inside out of the home. Those who live in the close-knit neighborhood want to support the children’s parents and grandparents as they grieve.

“I’m praying they can heal. Grandkids are pretty special,” neighbor Gary Andreasen said. “I think about losing mine and I start crying.”

“They have my deepest sympathies. I can’t imagine,” Garner said. “Your children become your world. They become the driving force of your existence.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Neighbors have started a GoFundMe page to help the family.

“That was her baby,” Willard said. “She is so heartbroken and that makes me heartbroken.”

If you live in Kansas City, Missouri, the fire department can help you install a free smoke detector. You can call 816-513-4648 or fill out an online form.

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