Oakville fire could have been arson, police say


Police are investigating whether a fire that destroyed a family’s house in Oakville last month was arson.

The Mehlville Fire Protection District called in officers from the South County Precinct of the St. Louis County Police Department to investigate the Feb. 7 fire that destroyed the house in the 3000 block of Bry Lynn Court, MFPD Assistant Chief Dan LaFata said. Firefighters from the Lemay and Rock Community fire districts also responded to fight the fire.

The St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit has been investigating the fire in the weeks since, police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda said.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire, which started on the back deck of the house.

One of the residents of the house, Anna Pelizzari Gosa, started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help her family resettle after their home was destroyed. She has two children, a girl and a boy who attend Rogers Elementary School, and her mother also lived in the house. The home was built by her grandfather in 1970, she posted on the fundraising page.

Pelizzari’s daughter saw a person setting the fire, Pelizzari wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“Thank God for my daughter, our hero!” she wrote. “Because she saw the fire, saw the person who set it running off and had the good sense to get her brother and I out of the house immediately, I know for a fact it wasn’t my turn to die today.”

The family was uninjured in the fire, but had to flee from the house with no shoes and without winter clothes in freezing weather, Pelizzari wrote.

The fire started on the back deck of the home, and flames had reached the attic and engulfed the back side of the house by the time crews arrived, LaFata said.

With help from other fire districts, firefighters had the fire under control in about an hour, LaFata added.

A drone captures the scale of the house fire on Bry Lynn Court in February. Photo by Eric Kunst.