NATION : 9 Killed as Fire Engulfs Apartment Without Smoke Detectors in Peoria

From Times wire services

A fire engulfed a house where 12 people were sleeping in a 20-by-30-foot upstairs apartment without required smoke detectors today, killing nine, including seven children, and injuring three, officials said.

Police Sgt. Rocky York said that authorities are looking for a person for questioning but that the person “is not an arson suspect at this time.” Earlier, officials had said an initial investigation turned up “no sign of arson.”

The fire broke out at 2:24 a.m. and the two-story wood-frame house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, officials said.

Peoria Fire Chief John Parker said the fire started in the first-floor apartment, which was vacant, while the 12 people were asleep upstairs. “There were at least two families in there, maybe a visitor or two,” he said.