- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Eleven people are hospitalized, including eight in critical condition, following a house fire in St. Louis.

The fire was reported around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Firefighters arrived within four minutes and rescued several adults and children who were trapped by smoke. The St. Louis Fire Department said five children, ages 10 months to 5 years, were among those in critical condition. Ten of the people in the home suffered smoke inhalation and one adult suffered burns.

The department initially said seven people were hospitalized but updated the number later Tuesday.

The home had a smoke detector but fire officials said it did not appear to be working. Fire officials are investigating whether a child playing with a lighter was the cause of the blaze, the fire department said on Twitter.

The home is part of a duplex. A resident of the other side of the duplex, Don Ransom, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that smoke began seeping into his home soon after he was awakened.

“My wife woke me up, screaming, ‘The building’s on fire!’” Ransom said.

Thick smoke was pouring from the home by the time firefighters arrived, and soon, they began carrying out children, Ransom said.

Fire officials said many of the victims were in a back bedroom.

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