Father, two children die in Jefferson County house fire

St. Louis – Three people were killed Thursday after a father rushed back into his burning home in a failed attempt to save his two children.

The fire started before 5 a.m. on New Year's Day near De Soto in Jefferson County.

James Manning and his wife, Deena, initially escaped, but the 39-year-old father returned to save his 7-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer said their bodies were found near a window at the back of the house.

Boyer said Deena Manning was unable to re-enter the house because it was engulfed in flames.

She was flown to a St. Louis hospital, where she was listed in critical condition late Thursday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.