Five Family Members Die in Missouri House Fire

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Fire killed five people, including three children, in a home in rural northern Missouri on New Year's Day, authorities said.

Carroll County Sheriff Troy Hofstetter said the blaze started early Friday in the basement of the house near the small, unincorporated town of Plymouth. He said the cause of fire was under investigation, but an unattended fireplace may be to blame.

The Kansas City Star reported that Judy Silkwood and a teenage granddaughter, Lindsey Russell, were asleep on the first floor and escaped. One of them ran to a neighbor's home and called 911 around 5 a.m.

Firefighters rushed to the home and extinguished the blaze, which was mainly contained to the basement.

The Star identified the victims as Silkwood's granddaughter, Lacey Stephens, 23; her granddaughter's boyfriend, James Aaron Ford, 24; the couple's daughter, Kenzi Ford, 4 months; Silkwood's grandson, Stony Mack Russell, 11; and his friend, Daniel Cosgrove, also 11.

The Star reported that the victims all lived nearby and were visiting Silkwood. They were found huddled in a basement bathroom.

Hofstetter called the fire "a strange one" because it did little damage to the outside of the house. One of the only visible signs of the blaze was a burned couch that sat outside the home in the snow.

Hofstetter said he expected the state fire marshal to release a report on Saturday.