Death toll in North County house explosion rises to 4

At least one person is dead and four others are injured after an explosion in a north St. Louis...
At least one person is dead and four others are injured after an explosion in a north St. Louis County neighborhood early Friday morning.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:00 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 3:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Four people died after an explosion in a North County neighborhood early Friday morning.

All four who died are 21 or under. St. Louis County Police identified the victims as 17-year-old Christopher Jones, 21-year-old William Jones, 16-year-old Travell Eason and 18-year-old Damario Cooks.

The death toll was two as of Friday and rose to four Saturday. At least one of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene and others were taken to the hospital.

Police said one other person was injured in the explosion. Their status is currently unknown.

The incident happened in the 6600 Block of Parker Road between Black Jack and Spanish Lake. Eason and Cooks lived on Parker Road. Police did not say where the other two victims lived.

Damario Cooks was one of four people killed in an explosion Friday morning in a North County...
Damario Cooks was one of four people killed in an explosion Friday morning in a North County neighborhood. He was 18.(Courtesy: Family of Damario Cooks)
William (front) and Christopher Jones were both killed in the explosion. William was 21 and...
William (front) and Christopher Jones were both killed in the explosion. William was 21 and Christopher was 17.(Courtesy: Family of William and Christopher Jones)
Travell Eason was one of four killed in the explosion. He was 16.
Travell Eason was one of four killed in the explosion. He was 16.(Courtesy: Family of Travell Eason)

St. Louis County police responded to a call for service for a house fire at 1:21 a.m. Officers said when they arrived they found a house on fire and a person outside of the home dead. The person had injuries consistent with the fire.

An initial investigation had witnesses reporting an explosion was heard at the time the fire started. Officials said the immediate surrounding area has been evacuated as a precaution.

Firefighters are working to figure out how many people were in the home at the time. The homeowner told officials at least three of her kids and possibly three other kids were in the garage. Three adults were in the home at the time as well.

Multiple neighbors said they felt their house shake when the explosion happened. Some saw debris about a block away from the scene.

“I heard a distinct boom, we live six-tenths of a mile from here. I walked to my front door thinking it was an accident in front of my house,” Bob Mannecke, neighbor, said. “Everything looked normal. About three or four minutes later I saw the Spanish Lake Fire Department take off from the firehouse so I knew something was close and something bad happened. I looked out my backdoor and saw black smoke coming through the trees.”

“Heard a huge explosion. Shook the house,” said Nichole Thomas, who lives next door to the victims. “That’s when we saw people running. There had been an explosion.”

Thomas told News 4 she watched as authorities revealed to the mother at least one of her kids died in the explosion.

“I did have to excuse myself a few times because her grief was, of course--we were all grieving with her,” she added. “Believe it or not, this has actually introduced a lot of neighbors who didn’t otherwise know each other. So, hopefully from that, we can begin to--we are a community--but get together and see how we can help. I’ve driven past this house everyday. I don’t recognize it. I can’t even tell you where the front door is.”

“The garage was completely gone,” said Tom Torminio, battalion chief with the Blackjack Fire Protection District. “We were having ambulances leave as soon as they got here picking patients and going.”

St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson detectives are currently investigating the cause of the explosion. If you have any information regarding the incident please contact St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).