LOUISIANA, MO. — The Missouri State Fire Marshal continues its investigation into an early morning Thursday fire that took the life of a 3-year-old Louisiana, Mo. boy.
The fire killed Riley Miller who was pronounced dead at Pike County Memorial Hospital.
The original 911 call came in at 12:58 a.m. at 405 S. Main St. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 1:03 a.m.
A city police officer stunned Riley’s stepfather Ryan Miller with a Taser gun three times as he tried to enter the burning house.
The parents were both taken to Memorial Medical Center’s burn unit in Springfield, Ill. by family members for treatment. Ryan Miller suffered burns to his chest. Cathy Miller suffered a burn to the cornea in one of her eyes. Both were released from the hospital Thursday night.
The house was destroyed.
Lori Miller, Riley’s grandmother, said police stunned Ryan Miller as he tried to get back in the house.
“He tried to get back in the house to get the baby,” Lori Miller said. “They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son.”
Ryan Miller’s sister-in-law doesn’t think the police handled the situation correctly.
“It’s just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn’t try and save a three year old burning in a house?” said Emily Miller. “We’ve been going through pictures and he’s just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid.”
City Administrator Bob Jenne said that the fire started in a rear recreation room. The parents fell asleep watching television. The boy slept in his bedroom.
The parents were able to reach a rear door in the room and exit the building after after the smoke woke them from their sleep. They called 911, Jenne said.
The Millers ran around to the front of the building and Ryan Miller kicked in the front door as police and firefighters arrived.
Ryan Miller tried to enter the home to get his stepson. Police restrained him and the officer stunned him with a Taser, according to Jenne.
State Fire Marshal Investigator Scott Stoneberger said that a firefighter in full gear attempted to enter the home but the flames were too hot. Firefighters discovered Riley near the doorway to the bedroom from the front living room.
Cathy Miller is the manager of the Louisiana Pizza Hut franchise. A co-worker who answered the phone there Friday said the entire staff is grieving over the Millers’ loss.
Ryan Miller has another son who wasn’t home at the time of the fire.
An official cause of the fire isn’t known and could take up to two or three weeks to learn. The fire marshal said that the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious.
For those interested in helping the family, monetary donations may be sent to the Mercantile Bank in Louisiana, c/o Ryan Miller or the Riley Miller fund.
Clothing items also are needed: Men’s 36×30 jeans and women’s size 8-10 jeans, size XL/XXL men’s shirts and size small/medium women’s shirts, size 6.5 or 7 in women’s shoes, and 10-11 in men’s.
You can send those items to the Miller Law Office at 125 South Main in Louisiana.