What a tragedy! The whole country is mourning

Two young children were killed when their house blew up in the small Missouri town of Defiance.

They were at home because their school had canceled classes because it was so cold.

The children, Julian Keiser (4 years old) and Jamison Keiser (6 years old), died early Friday morning before they could get out of their burning home near Highway 94 just outside of St. Louis or be saved.

Officials and a GoFundMe page say that their mom, Evelyn Turpiano, and grandparents, Jennifer and Vern Ham, were able to get away and get to safety.

A neighbor named Sharon Oberlag told the news source, “They were the nicest little boys.” “They were so cute, and they thought school was the coolest thing ever.”

Jaiden, who had just started kindergarten, and Julian were home when the bomb went off because their school had canceled classes to keep the kids safe from the cold, she said.

But by the time firefighters got there, the house was already on fire, and they couldn’t get to the people in time.

Chief Dan Casey of the New Melle Fire Protection District said the smoke eaters came in through a window to look for the boys.

Casey said, “They weren’t able to find them right away because of the fire.” The boys were later found dead.

Oberlag told KMOV that she heard what sounded like an explosion at the house.

“Everyone came running to help, and God, we didn’t know we were going to lose the two little boys. It’s so sad what happened,” she told the news source.

Oberlag continued, “They tried to get the boys, Nick and Travis, the neighbor, but they couldn’t. It’s terrible.”

The explosion and fire’s cause is still being looked into.

The building was owned by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, a Florida company started by David and Jerri Hoffmann, who are from Missouri. The Hoffmanns bought local wineries and restaurants with the goal of making the area like Napa Valley in the Midwest, according to the Post-Dispatch.

The company said in a statement Friday, “Our hearts are with the member of our team and their family who lost their children and grandchildren.” “As family-owned business, we care about our community and want to help our employees.”

They say, “If you ever met the boys at the Defiance Roadhouse, the Christmas Festival, or the St. Patrick’s Day parade, you will never forget how excited they were about life and how much joy they brought to everyone around them.”

The family lost their home and everything they owned, and they will have to pay for two funerals. It says, “Along with your money, the family will need your prayers and emotional support as they grieve the loss of two special little boys.”
Laura Emerson, a neighbor, came by to hang her Christmas wreath on a water pump next to the burned house. She added two stuffed animals to the wreath and hung it up.

“Those boys were happy.” They were smart. They were glad. “They were loved,” she told the newspaper.

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