5-year-old dies following Raytown apartment building fire - KCTV5

5-year-old dies following Raytown apartment building fire

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Family members say Jeremiah Roberts was pronounced dead at an area hospital Sunday morning. (Submitted) Family members say Jeremiah Roberts was pronounced dead at an area hospital Sunday morning. (Submitted)
t one point during the fire, some firefighters became trapped by the flames and needed to be rescued. (Submitted) t one point during the fire, some firefighters became trapped by the flames and needed to be rescued. (Submitted)
Firefighters were called about 2:30 a.m. to East 60th Street and Raytown Road. As the sun began to rise, investigators were still looking into how the fire started. (Eric Smith/KCTV5 News) Firefighters were called about 2:30 a.m. to East 60th Street and Raytown Road. As the sun began to rise, investigators were still looking into how the fire started. (Eric Smith/KCTV5 News)
RAYTOWN, MO (KCTV) -

There is heartache in Raytown after a 5-year-old was killed in a massive apartment fire.

Jeremiah Roberts died from injuries suffered in the fire. His baby brother and grandmother were both critically injured.

The early Sunday morning fire tore through an apartment complex and left 26 people displaced. All their possessions inside at the Somerset Village apartments near 60th Street and Raytown Road were destroyed.

Cherri Roberts, 55, and her two grandchildren were trapped by the flames in a third floor apartment. Roberts in the hospital with burns on 70-percent of her body. Jeremiah's 18-month-old brother, Jabin Roberts, is also in the hospital. Both Jabin and Roberts are in critical condition.

"I talked to Jacob. They said she was hollering, 'help.' Trying to make it out. Unfortunately, no one could get to them in time," Jeremiah's uncle, Grady Lauderedale, said.

The family's oldest brother, six-year-old Jacob, just had fire safety training at school on Friday. He desperately tried to save his 18-month-old brother, Jabin, and five-year-old brother, Jeremiah.

"He tried to grab his brothers and told them to, 'come on', but his brothers were so scared," neighbor Angel Hill said.

Jacob crawled from the third floor to safety out a back door. However, Jeremiah did not survive. 

"Jeremiah was an awesome child. He loved to play and laugh," Lauderedale remembered.

Jeremiah's family members are doing what they can to support his mother who is dealing with unimaginable pain.

"First of all we need prayers a lot of prayers," Hill stated.

"Just pray. Keep encouraging my sister and Jacob have good strong minds to make it through this tragedy and hard time," Lauderedale said.

Even though their pain, the family is trying to prevent others from this type of tragedy. They say every family should practice fire escape plans from their home.

Firefighters were called about 2:30 a.m. to the apartment complex. When crews arrived, they reported heavy fire and smoke, which complicated the rescue efforts.

At one point, the firefighters hose line was burned in half cutting off their exit. The conditions worsened, forcing a crew to carry the infant from the second floor to the third floor where firefighters from the Kansas City Fire Department were able assist by laddering the outside of the building and lowering the infant to the ground.

Less than 10 minutes after crews evacuated everyone from the structure, the roof supports began to fail causing the roof to collapse into the building.

"It breached the roof of the building and into the attic. So at that point, the chief decided to go defensive, and they pulled everybody out. We started attacking it from the exterior," Raytown Deputy Fire Chief Mike Hunley said.

The Raytown Fire Protection District requested the assistance of the Missouri State Fire Marshal due to the size and scope of the fire scene.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The American Red Cross said they are assisting the individuals affected by the fire.

Financial assistance is being provided to help with emergency needs that include lodging, food, clothing, prescription medicines, and, as needed, funeral assistance. Additional assistance includes disaster mental health counseling and casework referrals to partner agencies that provide services not available through the Red Cross. 

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