A woman and eight of her children died after a fire destroyed about half of their home in Kentucky early Thursday morning, officials said.
LaRae Watson, 35, and her children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, were identified as the victims, Kentucky State Police Trooper Stuart Recke told the Los Angeles Times.
However, Watson’s husband, Chad, 36, and one of their daughters, Kylie, 11, were able to escape. They were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where Chad is in critical but stable condition and Kylie is in stable condition, Recke said.
[Updated, 2:15 p.m., Jan. 30: Recke said the blaze has been ruled an accident and that an electric baseboard heater ignited some combustible material close by. Eight of the victims, he said, were found grouped in the master bedroom.]
The family of 11 lived in a community called Depoy, northwest of Greenville, in Muhlenberg County, Recke said. Dispatch received a call about 2 a.m.
“Some of the first responders live just down the road and they were there within a matter of minutes,” Recke said. Firefighters reported the house was “fully engulfed” when they arrived. The entire single-story home sustained damage.
The Kentucky State Police is being assisted by the Kentucky State Fire Marshal and Muhlenberg County coroner in the investigation. Recke said no other property was damaged in the neighborhood.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed condolences to the family on the Senate floor.
“The entire Commonwealth stands behind Muhlenberg County right now, and we’ll do whatever we can to help you recover from this horrific loss,” he said.