Heater Caused Fire That Killed 8 Kids, Mom

Victims found huddled together, may have tried to escape out window
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2014 9:45 AM CST
Heater Caused Fire That Killed 8 Kids, Mom
Alan Gregory, with the Kentucky Fire Marshal's office, at bottom, digs through debris Thursday Jan. 30, 2014, from a house fire that killed nine in Depoy.   (AP Photo/Messenger-Inquirer, Photo by Jenny Sevcik)

Police have found the cause of a devastating house fire that killed eight children and their mother in western Kentucky yesterday. An electric baseboard heater ignited "some nearby combustibles" in a bedroom where most of the children, aged 4 to 15, were sleeping, police tell the Courier-Journal. LaRae "Nikki" Watson's body was found in the master bedroom, surrounded by seven of her children, while another was just 15 feet away. Investigators tell the AP the fact that nearly all of them were in one room suggests they may have been trying to escape through a window.

Dad Chad Watson and daughter Kylie, 11, were able to get out. Before they were taken to the hospital, Watson's brother-in-law says Chad told him, "I went in three times. I did all I could. The rest of them have gone to be with a loving God." The two remain in critical but stable condition in a Nashville hospital, having suffered burns, cuts, and smoke inhalation, while Muhlenberg County reels. "You've got a very small community, everybody knows everybody," one man says. "This is a strong community ... But, man, I'm telling you, it's difficult." (More house fire stories.)

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