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Two People Killed in N. Concord House Fire; Firefighters Injured

(Springfield, MO) -- Two people have died, two other occupants had minor injuries and two firefighters suffered minor injuries, in a house fire at 920 N. Concord Friday morning.
Updated at 2:54 p.m.
Original copy at 5:34 a.m.

(Springfield, MO) -- Two people are dead, two other occupants have minor injuries and two firefighters are injured following a house fire at 920 N. Concord Friday morning. That's near the intersection of Grant and Chestnut Expressway.

Springfield fire crews were called to the scene around 5:15 a.m. Neighbors say they heard an explosion -- or what sounded like a gunshot -- just before seeing flames.

"Started off as a big boom," says neighbor William Farmer. "Heard people screaming from upstairs. We tried to run up there but there was too much smoke, so we ran back out."

William and neighbors like Amy Shackelford stood by helplessly as two people tried to escape.

"We didn't know if it was our house or not we were worried," said Shakelford.

Fire Chief David Hall says there were reports of two people trapped when they arrived. Their bodies were found by fire crews, and have not yet been identified. Two others had been pulled out with help by neighbors.

"A lot of panic in the area," he told KOLR10 News at the scene (click here for his interview). "Running and shouting. We were getting a lot of calls very quickly."

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries; one had to be transported to the hospital.

"We searched all of the first floor," says Chief Hall. "It was so severe that they [fire crews] had their legs fall through the floor, so we had to pull them out."

Crews have had a difficult time keeping the blaze contained due to the age of the structure.

"Firefighters are trained to be able to look at the house and figure out how it's laid out," adds Hall. "With this house, it was a little bit different. You go in without really knowing how things are laid out."

Flames could been seen reemerging from the attic off and on through the morning. It's not clear what started the blaze.

"Fire marshal is here," adds Chief Hall, who says he saw signs that may indicate arson. "We'll treat this as a crime scene until we know otherwise."

It's believed a man may have been living in the garage of the home. At one point, someone yelled in the alley that someone was trying to hurt him. 

The Springfield Fire Marshall and Greene County Medical Examiner have been on scene late morning. Chief Hall reported the two deaths just before 7 a.m. and that the Springfield Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit was brought in. 

Investigators fire and police who have been working all over the house say it will be days before they have conclusive information about the cause of the fire or the victims.

"The cause of the fire is unknown, and the investigation will attempt to determine if this fire was intentional or accidental," the Springfield Police Department wrote in a statement Friday afternoon.

Most of the block and the alley behind the home are now cordoned off with crime scene tape.

The SPD is requesting that anyone with any information regarding the case to call (417) 864-1810.

                        (Click here for a PHOTO GALLERY, via Facebook)

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