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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Tragedy: Three-year-old boy killed in house fire

Thursday, November 29, 2007

(Photo)
Butch Amann, fire investigator; Jason Ward, sheriff department investigator; and Jack Hays, Morehouse police chief, investigate the cause of the Wednesday fire
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Three others injured in the fire

MOREHOUSE -- Officials spent most of Wednesday investigating a house fire in Morehouse, where a 3-year-old boy died.

Clayton Meeks, 3, died in a fire at his home, located at 608 Locust St. Personnel from the Morehouse fire department responded to the fully-

engulfed structure fire at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday.

"Unfortunately the little boy did not make it out," said Jack Hays, Morehouse's chief of police.

(Photo)
Hays puts up tape around a burned house early Wednesday morning that left one dead
"It's just a tragic accident," said Ralph Barnwell, chief deputy coroner in New Madrid County.

At the time of the fire, four people were in the home -- two adults and two children. The children were sleeping on a pallet on the living room floor, where it was warmer and they were believed to have fallen asleep watching television, said Terry Stevens, New Madrid County sheriff.

The screams of Clayton's 4-year-old sister is what woke up the couple, family friends who were baby-sitting the children while their mother was out for the night, Stevens said.

The man ran into the living room, scooped her up and carried her outside, then returned to the living room, where the fire began, to retrieve Clayton. He was unable to reach the boy, and received some burns to his back.

The three were transported to Missouri Delta Medical Center, Stevens said, where the man was treated for second-degree burns and the girl and woman were treated for minor injuries.

The state fire marshal's office was called in to do an investigation of the fire, said Stevens. "Preliminary results show they believe it was an electrical source that started the fire," Stevens said. "No foul play is suspected at this time."

There was a space heater used in the living room, but officials don't believe it had any part in starting the fire, Stevens said.

The investigation is continuing the sheriff added. Participating agencies include his department, Morehouse, the Sikeston Department of Public Safety and the state fire marshal.

An autopsy for Clayton's body is scheduled to be performed today, said Barnwell. He and Stevens said Clayton is thought to have died due to smoke inhalation.

Stevens and Hays also noted there weren't any working smoke detectors found in the home.

A fund is set up to help pay for Clayton's funeral. Donations can be made at Alliance Bank, 820 North Main in Sikeston, or mailed to the bank, P.O. Box 96, Sikeston, MO 63801. Checks should be made out to "Clayton Meeks Memorial" or "Memorial for Clayton Meeks."