A toddler and his mother have died and a father has suffered burns in a southeast Missouri house fire.

Ripley County Coroner Mike Jackson says the fire was reported southwest of Doniphan. The Southeast Missourian reports that Michael Payne suffered burns to his upper body trying to save his 15-month-old son, Eli.

Jackson pronounced the toddler and Payne's 23-year-old wife, Valerie, dead at 5:15 p.m. Friday.

Current River Volunteer Fire Department chief Mike Wicklund Jr. says it appears the mother and baby were sleeping in different rooms when the fire started. He says Payne apparently was outside and came running in to get them.

The fire is under investigation.

close-up of flames from a fire rising

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