ATF joins investigation to help determine cause of Raytown apartment fire

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A fatal Raytown apartment fire is one of the worst fires in the city`s recent history. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms National Response Team has been summoned to investigate the fire that took the life of a 4-year-old boy.

When the ATF shows up to investigate, it is a crime scene until they prove otherwise.

“We have no reason at all to think this is an arson, however, we had no reason to think that the Independence Avenue fire was an arson either,” said John Ham with the ATF.

The same ATF team that investigated the Independence Avenue fire that killed two KCFD firefighters has been mobilized and is on the way to Raytown.

Deputy Chief Mike Hunley of the Raytown Fire Protection district says this building is so big and dangerous, they do not have the resources to safely investigate this fire.

“Frankly, we do investigations, but most of our investigations are accidental fires that are single family residences that don`t involve injuries or fatalities. They just are a lot smaller in scale,” he explained.

Mom Kendra Roberts talked to FOX 4 as she left Children`s Mercy Hospital Sunday night. Her 4-year-old son Jeremiah died as a result of the fire.

“Jeramiah, he was the best kid any mom could have,” she said.

His grandmother, 18-month-old brother Jabin and 6-year-old brother Jacob barely escaped with their lives thanks to the efforts of firefighters, and a lesson remembered by the 6-year-old boy.

“And Jacob, he just remembered from school to crawl out,” she said.

“There is little question that in the early interviews that we have done, that fire protection, going into the schools and teaching kids what to do when there is a fire saved some lives in this thing, and you can't really put a pricetag on that,” said Ham.

A spokesperson for the Raytown School District says every other year they have the fire department come talk to the kids about fire safety.