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House fire kills 5 children, injures mother who jumped out

December 10, 2018 02:21 PM

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Five children, including 1-year-old twins, died in a late-night fire that swept through an Ohio house after neighbors were awakened by a loud boom, firefighters said Monday.

Only the children's mother, who jumped from a second-floor window, survived the Sunday night blaze in Youngstown, said Capt. Kurt Wright of the Youngstown Fire Department.

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The other three children who died were ages 9, 3 and 2, Wright said. The mother was taken to a hospital and is being treated for injuries, he said.

The Mahoning County coroner's office hadn't publicly identified the children by midday Monday as officials were still working to notify relatives.

State and local investigators were just beginning to search for a cause of the deadly blaze. Fire officials said nothing so far indicates the fire was suspicious.

Most of the damage was on the home's first floor, leading investigators to believe the fire started there, Wright said.

Mourners piled stuffed animals beneath balloons in a makeshift memorial to honor the children outside the charred and boarded-up home Monday afternoon.

Melissa Thomas didn't know the victims but stopped with her daughters to drop off stuffed animals.

"I got two kids," Thomas said. "I can't imagine five."

Neighbors told WFMJ-TV the family had moved into the house about six months ago. The two-story wood home was built more than 90 years ago.

Deborah Rivera, who lives across the street, told The (Youngstown) Vindicator she'd heard a loud boom and called 911. Her boyfriend, Justin Viera, said flames were shooting out of the first-floor windows.

Firefighters found flames throughout the first floor when they arrived and were able to pull out three of the children, but they died at a hospital, Wright said.

"We have a relatively young department and most the guys have children. So it hits pretty hard and the fact that it's so close to Christmas hits even harder," Fire Chief Barry Finley said.

One firefighter was treated at the scene, and another was taken to a hospital for treatment and released.

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Associated Press reporters John Seewer in Toledo, Kantele Franko in Columbus and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

Credits

By RAMESH SANTANAM

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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