10 dead in Kentucky house fire
By BRETT BARROUQUERE
The Associated Press
BARDSTOWN, Ky. Fire swept through a one-story house early Tuesday, killing 10 people, six of them children, and leaving two others hospitalized, authorities said.
Most of the victims were dead by the time firefighters reached them, Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin said.
The last two bodies discovered in the charred brick home were children, both found under the bodies of adults, said Emergency Medical Services director Joe Prewitt. The relationships and ages of the 12 people in the house and the conditions of the survivors were not released.
The blaze broke out shortly before 4 a.m. in the home in Bardstown, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville. Fire officials were still trying to pin down the cause.
Janet Tonge identified one of the victims as her sister, 40-year-old Sherry Maddox. Tonge said Maddox's boyfriend, Johnny Litsey, a 2-year-old boy, girl twins, an 11-year-old child and a 1-year-old child also died in the fire.
"How do you prepare for a funeral this large? How do you do it?" Tonge asked. "We're not capable of thinking right now. We're like that house burned out."
Fire Chief Anthony Mattingly said the fire spread too rapidly for firefighters to get inside.
"It just didn't make any difference how fast we were here for the victims that were found," he said.
Neighbor Bennie Stone, 61, said he saw someone on the front lawn screaming for help, then went to the rear of the house and saw a woman who had escaped trying to get back inside. Stone said he pulled her back, then broke some windows to try to get to the children inside but was driven back by smoke and flames.
"I heard some of the kids hollering. There was just flames everywhere. There was no way, no way, I just couldn't do it," Stone said.
Stone said he believed all the people in the house were related, but some were staying there temporarily because their furnace went out.
Temperatures in Bardstown dropped to 11 degrees Monday night and hovered in the teens early Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. The ground around the home was icy Tuesday morning from water used to battle the blaze. A large portion of the roof had collapsed into the center of the building.
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