Fighting the Fire

These Union Fire Protection District firefighters were on the scene of a fatal fire Friday night at a Union mobile home park. Crews fought the blaze for more than an hour. A mother and her two children were killed in the fire. Go to Page 1U in this issue for the full story.    Missourian Photo.

A space heater could have sparked the fire that killed a Union mother and her two children, authorities said.

Police Chief Norman Brune said the fire began in the living room of the mobile home Friday night about 10:30 p.m.

He added that there was a space heater in the living room, but he is uncertain if that is the cause of the fire.

“It looks like the fire began in the livingroom, and that is where the space heater was located,” Brune said. “We have no reason to believe that there is foul play involved.”

The residents of the home were Samantha Cooksey, 24, and her children Allison Cooksey, 6, and Logan Berger, 1.

Brune said the names of the victims have not been officially released, but investigators have “no reason to believe it is anyone other than the residents.”

Steven Berger, the father of Logan and boyfriend of Samantha Cooksey, was at work when the fire occurred, police said.

Allison was a student at Central Elementary in Union.

According to Union Fire Protection District Chief Russ Hamilton, crews were dispatched at 10:37 p.m. to No. 1 of the mobile home park located at 456 Independence Drive.

When police officers and Union Fire Protection District crews arrived on the scene, the home was engulfed in flames.

“Fire conditions required firefighters to perform an exterior extinguishment,” according to a report issued by Hamilton. “Once fire spread was slowed by the exterior extinguishment, firefighters entered the structure to locate three deceased subjects. The interior fire was extinguished and the smoke removed from the home.”

Hamilton said the fire was brought under control at 11:32 p.m. There were 17 firefighters who responded to the scene,

Mutual aid was provided on the scene by Beaufort-Leslie Fire Protection District and Union Ambulance. The St. Clair Fire Protection District were stationed with in the Union district.

Franklin County Arson Investigator Jim Schuh-macher and Chief Regional Investigator Roger Windle, with the Missouri State Fire Marshal office, investigated the blaze.

“In these circumstances it is always better to have a second set of eyes.” Schuhmacher said.

The mobile home park is located across Park Street from Silgan Plastic Food Containers.

Steven Berger, the father of Logan, said the Steven Berger Trust Fund has been set up at the United Bank of Union

Zion United Church of Christ at 115 S. Washington Ave. in Union is also taking donations of clothing and household goods for Berger.