HEARTBREAKING: Mother & Her 8 Children Killed In House Fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

HEARTBREAKING: Mother & Her 8 Children Killed In House Fire

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NBCNEWS.COM - A mother and eight children were killed when a fire tore through a Kentucky home on Thursday morning, authorities said.

Nine of an 11-member family were found dead in the house fire that erupted in a Muhlenberg County home in the middle of the night, said Trooper Stuart Recke, Kentucky State Police public affairs officer. Two parents and their nine children lived in the single-story home, Recke said.

On Thursday afternoon, Kentucky State Police identified the mother as Larae Watson, 35, and the eight children killed: Madison, 15; Kaitlyn, 14; Morgan, 13; Emily, 9; Samuel, 8; Raegan, 6; Mark, 4 and Nathaniel, 4.

The father and an another child escaped the fire and were flown to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville about 120 miles away for treatment, Recke said.

Leslie Hill, a Vanderbilt Medical Center spokeswoman, said Chad Watson, 36, and Kylie Watson, 11, were both in critical but stable condition.

Harold McElvain, a former Muhlenberg County Sheriff who lives across the street, said the family was “a nice young family.”

“Everybody loved the kids,” McElvain said.

Laura Bennett, who lives two doors down from the devastated house, said the nine children ranged in ages from 4 to 15.

Bennett said that Samuel, one of the children who died in the flames, was playing at her house on Wednesday night with her 8-year-old daughter.

“He went home and then 10 hours later he’s gone.”

A neighbor called the fire department around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, Recke said, adding that firefighters have reported the house was “fully engulfed” when they arrive minutes later.

Crews put the fire out within an hour, Recke said. Still, “as I’m facing the house, the right side of the house is basically gone,” he added.

Recke said no other property was damaged in the neighborhood, which is about 150 miles southwest of Louisville. Recke said it was too early for investigators to determine what may have started the blaze, but the cause does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

“I’m thinking that they probably, maybe had space heaters because of this weather,” Bennett said.

The temperature in Muhlenberg County dropped to 1 degree overnight, while the region is accustomed to 35 degree temperatures in January, according to Weatherbase.com.

Bennett said the house had no more than three bedrooms and that the eleven family members were “piled up” in the limited space.

“We normally don’t have weather like that,” Bennett said. “They said when they was trying to put the fire out, the water was turning to ice,” she added.

On Thursday afternoon, crews continued digging through the rubble to search for the missing three bodies, McElvain said.

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed his sympathies to the family and community from the senate floor on Thursday afternoon. “The entire Commonwealth stands beside Muhlenberg County right now, and we’ll do whatever we can to help you recover from this horrific loss.”





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