BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Fire raged through a one-story house early Tuesday morning, killing 10 people — including six 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 burned 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. But Prewitt said all victims were members of an extended family, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.
Three adults escaped; one died on the way to the hospital, one male is being treated at University Hospital for severe facial burns, and one other woman is reported to be fine and in stable condition, according to WHAS11 in Louisville.
With the help of a neighbor, a man and a woman who escaped tried to rescue those still inside, but the intense heat prevented them from re-entering the house, neighbor Bennie Stone told The Louisville Courier-Journal.
“There wasn’t no way in the world they could get back in there,” said Stone, who saw the fire from his door when he got up for work. “There wasn’t anything we could do.”
Investigators were on the scene attempting to determine the cause of the fire.
One of the survivors reported some type of explosion before the fire broke out, reported local FOX affiliate FOX41. But the fire chief in charge has not yet confirmed that.
"It may have been an explosion in the center of the house. The fire flashed very quickly," said Bardstown Fire Department spokesman Tom Isaac.
The blaze broke out shortly before 3 a.m. in the home in Bardstown, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville.
Shortly before 4 a.m., WHAS11 reported, a neighbor's phone call alerted the Shelby County fire department to the home, located at 235 Guthrie Drive in Bardstown.
Houghlin said autopsies were planned on the victims.
The five-room, one-story house was little more than a brick shell Tuesday morning, reported the Courier-Journal. The middle section of the roof was gone, and all of the windows were blown out. Despite the bitter cold, neighbors gathered outside the shell of the home to console one another.
“I’m shocked,” Cheryl Johnson of Bardstown, who said her sister lived in the house, told the newspaper. “I’m numb. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”
She said she believes some of her sister’s grandchildren were in the house, and possibly some of her sister’s children as well.
“We’re devastated,” another sister, Janet Tonge, told the Courier-Journal. “If there’s a word, we don’t know what it is.”
Another deadly house fire broke out early Tuesday in rural Maryville, Tenn., 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 Berrong.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.