Mother and 4 chil­dren die in a house fire

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

A mother and four chil­dren were killed when flames swept through their ru­ral Mas­sachusetts home early Satur­day, fire of­fi­cials said.

Two other fam­ily mem­bers es­caped the fire, which broke out in the sin­gle-fam­ily house about 12:45 a.m. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said ini­tial in­di­ca­tions sug­gested the blaze was ac­ci­den­tal and pos­si­bly started in a wood stove in the kitchen.

The bod­ies of the vic­tims were re­cov­ered in the rub­ble of the home once the fire was ex­tin­guished sev­eral hours later, au­thor­i­ties said. The vic­tims had not yet been iden­ti­fied.

“There was noth­ing we could have done dif­fer­ent, un­for­tu­nately,” an emo­tional Fire Chief Ron Gates said dur­ing an af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence. “When we got on scene, the house was to­tally en­gulfed.”

The town of fewer than 800 res­i­dents in Franklin County, in the north­west­ern part of the state, has no fire hy­drants, and fire­fight­ers had to draw wa­ter from a source about a half-mile from the house, Gates said.

The two peo­ple who es­caped the fire, be­lieved to be an adult and a child, were taken to a hospi­tal in Keene, N.H., with in­juries that were not con­sid­ered life-threat­en­ing.

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