RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A Raytown family is without two loved ones and their home is destroyed following a devastating fire early Wednesday morning. It turns out, one of the youngest family members may have accidentally caused the fire.
A home in the 5700 block of Blue Ridge Cutoff in Raytown is now boarded up, after catching fire around 5 a.m. Wednesday. Neighbors woke up to learn two people died inside.
"I was devastated. I couldn't believe it. I mean I've seen other burnt down houses, but nothing so close to home," said neighbor Catherine Packard.
Cynthia Stone Fleming says her 72-year-old father Andrew Fry is one of the men who died. He was living in the house with his two stepdaughters and their families, being cared for as a dementia patient.
"Everybody loved him. He was a generous man and loved everybody," said Stone Fleming.
Cynthia says her stepsister's boyfriend John Lester Newman tried to get all eight people inside of the house out safely. Once the three kids and their mother were out, Newman went back in, trying to help Andrew Fry escape, and that's when he was killed.
"I think it was a true blessing that he was there and showed how much he loved my dad because they loved him as much as we did. And he went above and beyond to help do that, and his life was taken because of that. And I do appreciate that. My condolences and prayers go out to his family also," said Stone Fleming.
Cynthia says what's adding to the family's loss and grief is they fear one of the children, an 11-year-old little girl, may have gotten hold of a lighter, setting the house on fire.
"But I'm just asking the community and everyone out there to just pray for the family and that they heal like they should. No one is blaming anyone because accidents do happen," said Stone Fleming.
Now she, and so many in the community, are relying on their faith to heal from the terrible tragedy.
"I'm praying for the family and hope everybody else in Kansas City does too," Packard said.
The family says there were smoke detectors in the home, but it's not clear if they went off. The Raytown Fire Department says it has smoke alarms on hand, which are free to local residents. They'll even come install them for you.