Ten Killed in Group Home Fire in Southwest Missouri

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 - Posted at 11:15 a.m. CST

ANDERSON, MO - A state fire marshall says at least ten people are dead and 25 are injured after a fire swept through a group home in the southwest Missouri town of Anderson.

The fire was reported early today at the Anderson Guest House, a state-run home for the elderly and mentally disabled south of Joplin.  State Fire Marshall Randy Cole said he believed about 35 people were in the home at the time of the fire.  At least 19 people were taken to hospitals and six more were treated at the scene.

The cause was still under investigation, and names of the victims had not yet been released.

Cole said the building was "very heavily damaged" before the fire was brought under control just before daylight.  State records say the home is run by Joplin River of Life Ministries.

State health officials say inspectors in March had found some deficiencies at the home but none were related to fire safety.

The home is a residential care center licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  The facility also has a program license from the state Department of Mental Health.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)