Father charged in fire that nearly killed 4 children


A St. Louis firefighter carries a girl from a burning apartment to an ambulance after reviving her in the 1300 block of Ohio Avenue in the Lafayette Family apartments on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Fire department spokesman Garon Mosby said all four children were under the age of five; one, he said, was in critical condition. Firefighters entered the unit while it was burning and found one child hiding in a closet and a couple in a play tent. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A father whose four young children were allegedly left alone and nearly killed in a St. Louis house fire has been charged with four counts of child endangerment.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the charges were filed Tuesday against 33-year-old Keith Witherspoon Jr., who is jailed without bond. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

None of the children were older than 4 at the time of the Aug. 15 fire. They were found hiding from the fire in a playroom, including two in a play tent and one in a closet. Three of them were in cardiac arrest initially. Their mother, 27-year-old Crystal Ford, was charged previously.

Court records say Witherspoon was seen on surveillance video leaving the residence before the fire. The cause hasn’t been determined.

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