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Police: 9 bodies recovered after Kentucky house fire

GREENVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- An early morning blaze at a home in rural western Kentucky killed nine people, while two others escaped and are being treated for injuries, according to Kentucky State Police.

An adult who fled the fire about 2 a.m. CST in the Depoy community of Muhlenberg County told first responders that most of the family remained inside the house, Trooper Stu Recke said. Recke said the remains of six people were recovered by the afternoon, and investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze.

"Basically, it is a recovery effort," Recke said.

A family member, Ricky Keith, said a couple in their 30s lived in the house with their nine children ranging in age from 16 to pre-school aged. Recke said a father and daughter survived the fire, but he was unsure of their condition.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokeswoman Dagny Stuart said an adult and a child were taken to the hospital in Nashville, Tenn., but she could not provide details about their conditions.

The fire broke out in the single-family house just west of Greenville, which is about 130 miles southwest of Louisville in the state's western coal fields. Greenville had a population of just more than 4,000 people in 2010, census figures show.

Keith, who lives about a mile up a hill from the home, said the couple struggled financially with the 36-year-old father working construction and handling a paper route while the 35-year-old mother stayed home with the children.

"I don't know how they made it as long as they had. They've struggled as long as I've known them, but they loved one another, I know that and they loved them kids," Keith said.

Recke described the region as "a rural area where everybody knows everybody." The house is in a small neighborhood of single-family dwellings, trailers and farmland.

The side and roof of the small, white-wood frame house with three bedrooms and an enclosed porch collapsed around the chimney. In front of the house, a white van stood on a concrete parking pad. At least five kids' bikes and a child's riding toy were strewn about the yard near a swing set.

Keith said the home was "wore out" and the children played constantly in the yard.

"They kept them in the yard and didn't let them out of their sight," Keith said.

Several first responders lived near the home and reported that the house was fully engulfed when they arrived, within minutes of getting the call, Recke said.

The Kentucky State Fire Marshal also had an investigator on the scene. Recke said it is too early to tell what caused the blaze but noted that temperatures in the area were in the teens and single-digits overnight.

This is Kentucky's third fire in a little more than a year that has killed five or more people. Last January, four children under 6 and their father were killed in a blaze near Pikeville in eastern Kentucky that also severely burned their mother. Authorities said the home lacked a smoke detector.

In March, a fire at a home in the southern Kentucky community of Gray killed a young couple and five children, the oldest of whom was 3.

The area of the latest fire was featured in the 1971 John Prine song "Paradise," about the impact of coal mining and what happens to the area around the Green River once the mining ends. The song references Peabody Energy Corporation and a now-defunct town called Paradise.

Kentucky House Fire Kills Several Children

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msmith6791 January 31 2014 at 11:09 AM

Would it be possible to organize efforts in every city - volunteers setup by the municipality to work on notifying every resident to install/and/or check for smoke detectors to be installed and or checked for proper battery and operation? Surely if there had been one all these people would be alive. Just suggesting.

This is a comment about common sense that we should all promote.

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elkhartbiker January 31 2014 at 7:36 AM

The poverty in Kentucky and other southern states can be blamed directly on King Barack and his willingness to destroy the coal industry in order to pacify his eco-freaky green gurus constituency.

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Susan Bond February 01 2014 at 9:46 PM

Ummm... I'm a 'Bama hater but this reaches far beyond his idiocy.

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jcjjh January 31 2014 at 6:54 AM

I cannot believe how many ignorant comments are on here... This Man and Woman had 9 children that they loved and took care of to the best of their ability, and people make jokes??? RIP and go to Hades to those who dare to make awlful comments...

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hodefense22 January 31 2014 at 3:03 AM

wow this story is sad.once again we pray for those who lost there life and hope the two get well for each other . sometimes fires just happen by accident .we are only human's , please don't judge this family they need prayer's and support . i had a fire and it;s a memory i'll never forget but i must forgive and look forward to each and everyday . amen

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pj512 January 30 2014 at 10:58 PM

This is so sad. You don't need a lot in life to be happy and it sounds like this family had a lot of happiness. What a horrible thing to happen.

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chanell 44 January 30 2014 at 10:40 PM

so sorry to hear of the loss ,may God Bless them and take them home with him ,,,,,,,where they will never be cold or hungry again

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Madonna January 30 2014 at 10:16 PM

May you turn to Christ for comfort and support so you can go on and take care of your child that did survive. I hope you two have a speedy recovery back to health so you can have the strength to go on. Your in my prayers.

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daradams January 30 2014 at 10:04 PM

Heating a home is very expensive - thanks to the EPA regulations put on coal in this state and you can thank you know who...

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SSFLASHON January 30 2014 at 9:42 PM

People...These were hard working people who loved each other and all you can do is talk about "How did God let this happen" and "smoke alarms" They were poor people and probably were trying to stay warm and the fire broke out. Don't you dare judge them. They weren't asking for anything they were just living the best they could. Shame on all of you. May god bless the ones who died and help the ones that lived.

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rlmcanoe January 31 2014 at 7:09 AM

very well said, there are a lot of ignorant people that are judging this family, they should be ashamed

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cpsparkerky January 30 2014 at 9:41 PM

May God comfort the survivors and take the children to Heaven with Him. Sad that this man had to work so hard to support his huge family. Obamanomics is squeezing all of us. Obama has to go before the normal American has to go to the poorhouse. (which is run by Obama's government, of course)

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2 replies to cpsparkerky's comment
Jeff January 30 2014 at 9:51 PM

If you cannot financially support 9 children then don't have them. He works two jobs but still t
finds time to breed.

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geotoyou January 31 2014 at 5:24 AM

,,,as did your mammy...

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geotoyou January 31 2014 at 5:25 AM

,,,typical repuke response to a tragedy...

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