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Three Young Siblings Found Dead in Rural Missouri Home Fire

Three siblings were found dead Friday after a fire swept through their home, just three months after another fire killed two children in this rural Callaway County town.

An autopsy found the three children died of carbon monoxide poisoning, said Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane.

The children's mother, another woman and her child were able to escape, officials said.

The fire was reported about 2:45 a.m. and the two-story home was fully engulfed when firefighters from several area departments arrived, Crane said.

The bodies of 4-year-old Chance Wilkerson and 2-year-old Gracie Wilkerson were found on the floor of their bedrooms. But the flames became too intense and firefighters had leave before the third child, 6-year-old Trevor Smith, could be found, Crane said. His body was recovered after the fire was contained about 10 a.m.

The three children were siblings, Crane said.

The woman and child who survived were in the basement of the house, where the fire started, and were able to get the victims' mother, Elizabeth Nix, 24, out of the house, Crane said. The names of the other two survivors were not released.

On Jan. 16, 3-year-old Bailey Daniels and her 5-year-old sister, Savannah, died in a fire in a mobile home in Holts Summit. Before that blaze, the rural Callaway County town had gone 10 years without a fire fatality.

Scott Brooks, chief of the Holts Summit Fire Protection District, told the Columbia Daily Tribune that fatal blazes involving children are difficult for firefighters.

"It's the god-awful scream from the mother," Brooks said. "It's the anguish you see in their eyes. You think of your own and you just thank God you get to go home to them."