Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin says the death toll in a morning house fire in Bardstown has risen to ten.
Nine bodies were found in the house and one person died at Flaget Hospital in Bardstown.
There were two survivors who were hospitalized. One is at the University of Louisville Hospital and the other at the Bardstown
Hospital. Their conditions were not available.
Nelson County Emergency Services Director Joe Prewitt says six
children and four adults died in the house.
The fire broke out around 3 o'clock this morning on Guthrie Drive in Bardstown.
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From the Associated Press:
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (AP) - Fire swept through a one-story house early Tuesday, killing 10 people, six of them children, and leaving two
others hospitalized, authorities said.
Most of the victims were dead by the time firefighters reached
them, Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin said.
The last two bodies discovered in the charred brick home were
children, both found under the bodies of adults, said Emergency
Medical Services director Joe Prewitt. The relationships and ages
of the 12 people in the house and the conditions of the survivors
were not released.
The blaze broke out shortly before 4 a.m. in the home in
Bardstown, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville. Fire officials
were still trying to pin down the cause.
"It may have been an explosion in the center of the house. The
fire flashed very quickly," said Bardstown Fire Department
spokesman Tom Isaac.
Janet Tonge identified one of the victims as her sister, 40-year-old Sherry Maddox. Tonge said Maddox's boyfriend, Johnny
Litsey, a 2-year-old boy, girl twins, an 11-year-old child and a
1-year-old child also died in the fire.
"How do you prepare for a funeral this large? How do you do
it?" Tonge said. "We're not capable of thinking right now. We're
like that house, burned out."
Authorities said it might be a couple of days before the victims
are identified. The bodies will be taken to Louisville for
autopsies and toxicology tests, said Kentucky's chief medical
examiner, Tracey Corey.
Rob Goodwin, senior deputy state fire marshal, said it was
Kentucky's deadliest structure fire since the Beverly Hills Supper
Club fire in northern Kentucky in 1977 killed 165 people.
"It's a very tragic day in our city," said Bardstown Fire
Chief Anthony Mattingly. Mattingly said the fire spread too rapidly for firefighters to get inside.
"It just didn't make any difference how fast we were here for
the victims that were found," he said.
Bennie Stone, 61, who lives near the house, said he saw a person
on the front lawn screaming for help. He went around to the rear of
the house and saw a woman who had escaped trying to re-enter the
house. Stone said he pulled her back outside and away from the
Stone said he broke some windows to try and get to the children
inside, but he was overcome by smoke and flames.
"I heard some of the kids hollering. There was just flames everywhere. There was no way, no way, I just couldn't do it," Stone said.
Stone said he believed all the people in the house were related,
but some were staying there temporarily because their furnace went
Temperatures in Bardstown dropped to 11 degrees Monday night and hovered in the teens early Tuesday, according to the National
Weather Service. The ground around the home was icy Tuesday morning from water used to battle the blaze. A large portion of the roof
had collapsed into the center of the building.
Despite the bitter cold, neighbors gathered outside the shell of
the home to console each other.
"It went up pretty quick," said neighbor Julie Wagoner.
Another neighbor, Dwight Mason, 48, was alerted to the fire by
his wife. He ran toward the house and tried to assist a man and
woman who were trying to get back into the house and save some of
the people trapped inside.
"I heard the kids hollering and I think Johnny, he was hollering for help but we couldn't get in," Mason said. "I busted a window and was tempted to crawl into the window and one of the police officers stopped me."
Mason said one of the survivors was Darrell Maddox, who was
listed in serious condition at University of Louisville Hospital on
Mason said the family had been living in the house five years.
"I knew every one of them," Mason said. "My wife is kin to the Maddox side, and Johnny and me, we kind of grew up together."
Another deadly house fire broke out in Friendsville, Tenn.,
early Tuesday, killing four children. The parents escaped from the
burning home with a 2-year-old, but the other children, ages 7 to
14, died in the blaze, said Blount County, Tenn., Sheriff James
Associated Press writers Will Graves, Dylan T. Lovan and Thomas
S. Watson in Louisville and Duncan Mansfield in Friendsville,
Tenn., contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)