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Space heater set out for dog leads to deadly Ferguson house fire

Fire officials said the space heater was under the back porch to keep a dog warm.

FERGUSON, Mo. — Fire officials believe a deadly house fire in Ferguson over the weekend was caused by the inappropriate use of a space heater.

The fire started at a home in the 400 block of Ruggles Road at around 2 p.m. Saturday. A couple in their 80's lived in the home with their son, 65, who was on hospice care, according to Ferguson Fire Chief John Hampton.

Both men were both taken to a hospital for treatment. The father survived but his son died from his injuries. Hampton said the father suffered burns trying to get downstairs to rescue his son.

"The father is still in the hospital with burns on his hands," neighbor Mary Gonzales said. "He was trying to save his son."

Hampton told 5 On Your Side the fire was caused by a space heater that was under the back porch to keep a dog warm. Hampton said the space heater caught the dog's bedding on fire.

"I said, 'There’s a dog,'" said Gonzales. "At first firefighters said he was dead. Then they gave him oxygen and they revived the dog."

On what was a tragic day for members of that family, Gonzales was with the woman when she learned their beloved pet survived.

"When we found out Dusty was fine, oh my God, she almost collapsed," said Gonzales. "A little bit of good in the tragic. The son and the husband were too immense for her. Knowing the dog is OK, she was so relieved. The dog is doing fine. One of the family members has him."

Gonzales said the woman who lived there is staying with relatives.