Child playing with paper on stove believed to be cause of University City fire

Firefighters battle blaze in University City.
Firefighters battle blaze in University City.(KMOV)
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A fire destroyed three homes and injured several people, including children, in University City on Tuesday.

The fire broke out just a mile north of the Delmar Loop in the 6500 block of Etzel. University City Fire Captain Rob Cage told First Alert 4 that in one of the homes, there was a mother, three children and an infant. The children inside the home ranged in age from an infant to 14 years old.

The following day, police said that everyone had been released from the hospital except for the infant, who continued receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.

“The main fire building, the construction of it is a wood frame with a tar and vinyl siding over it, and once the fire got on the exterior, it just lit up like a candle,” said Cage.

A day after the fire, University City police said their preliminary investigation into the fire’s cause showed that it started because a child was playing with paper on a stove.

The Red Cross has been assisting the family. The two other homes that caught fire were not occupied at the time, police said.