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latimes.com

Band Perry offers to pay funeral costs for Ky. family killed in fire

By Saba Hamedy

8:04 PM PST, February 2, 2014

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A fire that killed all but two members of a Kentucky family brought devastating grief but also overwhelming generosity, the family says.

Country music group the Band Perry offered to pay for the funeral of eight children and their mother, who died in Thursday’s fire in Muhlenberg County. LaRae Watson, 35, and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, died in their single-story home in Depoy after an electric baseboard heater ignited nearby combustible material, Kentucky State Police Trooper Stuart Recke told The Times.

Watson's husband, Chad, 36, and one of their daughters, Kylie, 11, were the only survivors. Father and daughter remain in Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said Kevin McGehee, Chad's brother-in-law.

"Kylie is making great gains every day," McGehee told The Times on Sunday. "The swelling in her right arm and face have gone completely down. The hospital is fairly positive she could be breathing on her own tomorrow."

Chad, whose burns were worse, remains in critical condition. He is improving in "baby steps," McGehee said. "His swelling has also decreased some, and he is breathing a little bit more on his own."

The family has created a Watson Family Fundraiser page on Facebook to post updates for the public. On it, they thanked the community for its continued prayers.

"Both sides of the Watson's family are having a hard time and we're mourning in our own way," the family posted on Friday.

The Band Perry's publicist approached family members about paying for the funeral, McGehee said.

"But they didn't want any publicity," he said. "They are a humble, Christian band and they just heard about the fire on the news and wanted to help."

The band's publicist, Brian Bumbery, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but he confirmed the offer to CNN.

Many people thanked the band for its generosity on its Facebook page.

"Thank you for all you are doing to help the family in Muhlenburg County fire victims. You are truly a blessing," one person wrote.

"Giving hope instills hope," another wrote. "Thank you for making all of us better with your generosity."

McGehee said a vigil was held for the fire victims Friday night at the church Chad attended growing up, Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, Ky. Chad and LaRae Watson also got married there, he said.

"We estimated about 350 visitors attended the vigil," he said. "We've had an overwhelming response of donations, prayers, well wishes from across the globe -- Canada, Australia, Brazil, Germany."

The family is accepting donations through the First National Bank of Muhlenberg County and PayPal.

McGehee said the family hopes Chad and Kylie continue to improve. "It's beginning to look more and more like they are both going to be able to come home soon," he said. 

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Twitter: @saba_h

saba.hamedy@latimes.com