Rolla woman, two children, die in house fire

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | 3:39 p.m. CDT

ROLLA — A woman and two children died Wednesday in south-central Missouri at a home where several developmentally disabled children reportedly lived, authorities said.

The fire was reported around 9 a.m. Wednesday about two miles south of Rolla. The house was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.

Phelps County Coroner Larry Swinfard told KSDK-TV the woman killed in the blaze raised developmentally disabled children. It wasn't clear if she adopted them or if they were foster children.

Authorities say several children lived at the home. They weren't sure how many, but initial reports indicated as many as 20 people were there when the fire broke out. It wasn't clear if anyone else was hurt in the fire.

Swinfard said the woman got out of the burning home but went back inside to try and save the children. The other victims were a 10-year-old girl and an infant. Names of the victims have not been released.

Phelps County Sheriff Richard Lisenbe told KOLR-TV that several rescue crews arrived quickly but couldn't get inside to save the victims.

"We had officers trying to get in there to get people out, but the flames were really bad," Lisenbe said.

Rolla, a town of about 16,000 residents, is about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis.


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