Missouri: Suspicious house fire claims lives of teacher and four children

(Photo ⁤by David McNew/Getty Images)

OAN’s James⁣ Meyers

1:35 PM – Wednesday, February 21, 2024 ⁢

A devastating house fire ​in‌ Missouri tragically claimed the lives of a teacher ⁣and her four children. The ‍fire was described as​ “suspicious” and is currently under investigation.


Firefighters responded to the ⁣blaze in Ferguson early Monday morning,⁢ but unfortunately,⁣ the teacher and her⁤ children were unable to escape. The victims were identified as Bernadine Pruessner, an⁤ assistant professor, and her children Millie Spader, Jackson Spader, Ellie Pruessner, and Ivy ⁢Pruessner.

“The smoke was so bad,” recalled neighbor Jerry McClure, who had ​called‌ 9-1-1. ⁤“I ‍tried to kick ‌the front door. We just couldn’t wake ​them up.”

The ⁤fire is⁤ being treated as suspicious ⁢due to evidence of⁢ possible⁣ criminal activity. St.‌ Louis‌ Regional Bomb and Arson ⁤detectives are now investigating ⁣the scene, and a search warrant has been obtained for the ⁣family’s‌ van.

Despite the tragedy,​ there were some survivors. Around 14​ rabbits, three chickens, ⁢and two‍ cats were ⁤rescued from⁢ the fire. Dara Ashby, who works for the Ferguson Animal Coalition, expressed relief that she ⁢could help save ⁢the animals.

“The​ animals ⁢were ​very happy and had food and water and ‌I know the owner. She loved them dearly. And so ⁤I’m happy that I ⁤could ​help ​in some way,⁣ to help her‍ animals,” said⁣ Dara Ashby.

The investigation‍ into the cause of the fire and ⁤the deaths​ is⁤ ongoing. Stay tuned for updates on this tragic incident.

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⁣ Er, and we were able to provide them with shelter and care,” ​Ashby said.

The community has also rallied together to support the‌ family ​during this⁤ difficult time.⁢ A GoFundMe‌ page ‌has been set up to help with funeral expenses and support the surviving family members. So far, it has received an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors, and even strangers.

Ferguson ‌Mayor ⁣Lawrence‌ Bauman ⁣expressed his condolences, saying, “This ‌is a tragedy that‌ has shaken our‍ community. We will do everything we ⁢can to support the investigation and⁣ bring justice to the ‌victims.”

As investigators ‍continue to​ gather evidence and search for answers, the community remains‌ united in their grief. They will⁢ come together to remember and honor the lives ⁤lost in this​ tragic fire, and they will lean on each other for support during this difficult time.

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