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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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foxx1952 January 30 2014 at 12:57 PM

As a Fire Arson Investigator its one job that hits at the core of a loved ones life.No one is immune to the dangers of fire.

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1 reply
roseyoungstewart foxx1952 January 30 2014 at 12:58 PM

riiiiight and I am the wife of the pope.

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3 replies
Van January 30 2014 at 4:53 PM

I thought the article was supposed to relate the cause of this terrible fire but I have yet to read it. Anyone know?

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2 replies
jijjhnsn Van January 30 2014 at 5:19 PM

Most likely space heater or exposed fire for heating given the temp in the area.

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slloyd414 Van January 30 2014 at 8:34 PM

They believe it started because combustibles were too close to an electric baseboard heater.

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weeeally January 30 2014 at 12:30 PM

My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends.

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mesnafugal January 30 2014 at 12:29 PM

I'm ashamed of the ugly hateful comments people are making about this tragedy. You do not know these people, they were living as they could. That is a poor area and you want to say they all deserve to die a horrible death even the children?? People like YOU are the ones who will be judged at your so called "Pearly Gates".. you are just a nasty mean spirited person.

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2 replies
nyborgtoo mesnafugal January 30 2014 at 12:35 PM

You need to go back a re read this. No one said that the poor deserved to die it said that it happens in homes of the poor who were trying to stay warm. You sure sound like you are full of hate. I feel sorry for you.

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1 reply
***mAnDa*** nyborgtoo January 30 2014 at 12:47 PM

There are comments on this thread that state they "hoped they all died painfully and miserably", I read them myself. They were probably removed as a result of people flagging them.

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oceanmist217 mesnafugal January 31 2014 at 3:57 AM

Well aren't you full of righteous indignation. Not one person has said they want anyone to die a horrible death. Get off your soapbox lady and stop patting yourself on the back for what you perceive as truth.

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sylviamccl January 30 2014 at 5:22 PM


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rsch34 January 30 2014 at 12:28 PM

Very sad, I feel for the families of the deceased and for the men who responded to the home. Having removed more souls from house fires than I care to remember, I know what those men went through.

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ssass3101 January 30 2014 at 5:30 PM

So sad, seemed like it was a happy family and now mosty gone
and it was great when people had lots of kids, they had better lives instead of just one or two that dont seem to know anything about families and love only xbox and yakking on the cell

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Zellaisme January 30 2014 at 5:37 PM

So very sad just tragic :( Nothing will change the tragic loss of this family and the impact it leaves to the loved ones and community. Praying for all!

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lorismomoftwo January 30 2014 at 5:44 PM

Please, won't you just stop with the negative comments and have some compassion for this family! Believe it or not folks, you can be happy in a large family even if you are poor! I can promise you one thing....I'm pretty sure they enjoyed being a family more so than most. Some have no idea how to communicate with their family because they are constantly on their cell phones. They would rather communicate with people they don't even know on facebook than spend time with their own family. God bless the Dad & child that survived. I hope they make a full recovery.

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1 reply
slloyd414 lorismomoftwo January 30 2014 at 8:32 PM

Don't fret. Just makes them look foolish, not the family in the story. Educated, rational, mature people know better.

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rlmcanoe January 30 2014 at 4:37 PM

Condolences from Massachusetts, this is a horrible sad situation, I hope the dad and the child are going to be ok, can't imagine the help they are going to need. sorry for your loss

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1 reply
PEGGY rlmcanoe January 30 2014 at 5:17 PM

Hi From Boston and years ago in my neighborhood had a similar fire. 7 people passed away. My son tryied with a garden hose before fire dept arived. Hairs on my neck stand up whenever I hear stories like this. GOD BLESS ALL of the family and friends! God Speed!

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