EVENSVILLE, Tenn. – A house fire killed nine members of a family, including six children, in eastern Tennessee early Saturday, officials said.
The fire occurred about 6:15 a.m. and may have started on the second floor, where the victims were sleeping, said Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal.
Funeral director Randy Garrison identified the dead as Reba Ann Alexander, 42; Krystal Alexander, 25; Misty Marie Alexander, 23; John David Smith II, 17; Jennifer Marie Edwards, 10; Lexie Weaks, 5; Angel Dawn Weaks, 2; Jaden Rhea Sullivan, 1; and Clarissa Sanchise, 1.
The victims were members of an extended family, Garrison said.
A 19-year-old man escaped unharmed from the first floor of the two-story house, officials said. He was the only person in the house not sleeping on the second floor.
Some of the family members were staying at the house temporarily as they prepared to move, the sheriff said. "That's why there were that many people there," he said.
Authorities were still investigating the fire but did not suspect foul play, Neal said. A neighbor who noticed the second floor on fire called 911.
The rural community of Evensville is 38 miles north of Chattanooga.