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'It's just heartbreaking': Neighbors react to loss of 10-year-old girl in overnight house fire

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Posted at 3:20 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 18:14:13-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, fire and police are investigating a house fire that took the life of a 10-year-old girl. It happened in the 4000 block of North Chestnut Street around midnight.

Two adults from the same fire remain in critical condition with their injuries.

“You know when I see this, this is a home, right? This was a family that was here,” said Jason Spreitzer, KCFD spokesperson. “Things like this are very hard, not only for the neighborhood but fire crews — community as a whole.”

Neighbors are shocked to hear of a deadly house fire on their usually quiet block. Kayla Smith was caught off guard around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and came outside to see smoke and rows of emergency vehicles.

Firefighters were climbing her neighbor’s roof four houses down.

“I could definitely hear someone screaming. I assumed outside of the house, with obviously pure fear, so it was really, really upsetting,” Smith said. “I didn’t know who all was in the house, but regardless, even if no one was in there, that’s your life going up in flames.”

Another neighbor says she knows the family that lived there. Cheri Tauvar says she watched the family’s 10-year-old girl grow up on their street.

“The mother and the father, they moved in maybe six or seven years ago,” Tauvar said. “They were a nice family. They had two pit bulls and a young daughter at the time. And they would push their daughter up and down the street, you know, entertaining her. Riding first her little, I guess, toy car.”

Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. According to KCPD, no foul play is immediately detected.

“Any kind of tragic event that deals with life, of major loss, of property, we go to them,” Spreitzer said. “We always investigate everything to the fullest extent.”

KCFD is reminding the public how important it is to have a working smoke alarm. Investigators have not determined if there was one in the home that caught on fire at the time of the incident.

“I cannot stress enough, if you have a minute and you don’t have smoke alarms, call us. We will give them to you. They are free,” Spreitzer said.