WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. — A fire that began overnight in Webster County has killed three kids.

According to a spokesperson for the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, three kids aged 12-16 were killed in a fire that began at a home in the 1600 block of Conklin Road.

The fire appears to be accidental, according to the spokesperson.

“We really do see that smoke detectors save lives,” Fair Grove Fire Chief Randall Hoskins said. “They give you those crucial minutes to exit the structure. So check your smoke detectors and make sure you know how to get out of your house.”

Neighbors said it’s devastating to hear about deaths in a tight-knit community.

“Lived in this community all my life, and I knew the people who lived there for many, many years before the new people lived there,” Roger Herman said. “So I’m really devastated to hear about this.”

Herman and another neighbor said they have to think back to the 1980s since the last time they experienced a tragedy like this. Herman said he didn’t know the family from Monday morning’s fire, but the situation still pulls on his heartstrings.

“Three little kids being hurt and harmed or even beyond that killed, words don’t describe that. That’s so awful,” Herman said.

The Webster County Sheriff’s Office said the adults living at the home survived, 

Herman said it’s important for the community to come together during this time to help the family during this tragedy.

“Our prayers are with them and we want to find out more information,” Herman said. “When we do, we’re going to try to help them somehow.”

The following departments responded to the fire: Elkland, Marshfield, Seymour, Strafford, Logan-Rogersville and Fair Grove.

Fair Grove Fire Chief Randall Hoskins and his unit were dispatched around midnight. They spent over five hours at the scene.

“Due to the fire conditions at that point in time, upon our arrival, many attempts were made but we could not gain access to where the victims were,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins said the house being in a rural area provided obstacles for first responders.

“There are no fire hydrants so we have to bring the water,” Hoskins said “What compounds that challenge is these rural fire departments, us included, and all the Webster county fire departments, they’re really low on manpower and we have to dedicate a large number of our manpower to shuttle the water to us, which then limits our firefighters on scene that can actually fight the fire.”

Family members are trying to raise money to help with funeral costs and rebuilding the home.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.