GRAY, Ky. (AP) - Authorities planned Monday to
release more information about a weekend house fire in the Appalachian
foothills of Kentucky that killed a man, his pregnant fiancee and five
children - two of whom were friends who were spending the night.
The Knox County coroner and state police have not
yet identified the victims, but family members said the five children
killed ranged in age from 10 months to 3 years.
Shannon Disney, a sister-in-law of one of the
victims, said a relative who drove past the house at 7:45 a.m. Saturday
noticed nothing unusual, but another who lives nearby saw smoke coming
from it around 9 a.m.
Disney described the couple as devoted to the
children, with their lives organized around bedtime and bath time. She
said the woman had just gotten an ultrasound, and the couple was excited
to plan for the birth, though they didn't know yet whether it was a boy
Relatives raced to the house - owned by the Disney
family in an area affectionately known as "Disneyland" because so many
members of the family lived in that part of town. Despite their rescue
efforts, all seven people inside died.
Gino Cima, the uncle of the man who died, said he
arrived within minutes of hearing of the Saturday morning blaze and
tried to rescue the family when he came upon the adults' bodies.
"When I opened the screen door, she was laying at
the door with her head to the door. And I pulled her out," he said,
speaking softly. "And about 2 feet from her laying the other way was (my
nephew). And I went in and got him and pulled him out. But they was
done gone. There wasn't nothing I could do."
He said he then ran to the front of the house to try to save the children.
"And that's when they had the five babies laying out in the front yard," he said.
Relatives said the nephew's fiancée was the mother
of 3 of the children who died. The other two children were siblings and
friends of the family, visiting for the night for a sleepover, the
Officials said the cause of the fire was under
investigation. Arson investigators were at the scene Saturday, but
officials said no foul play was suspected. State police said Sunday that
no more information on the fire would be released until Monday.
Laura Cima, Gino's wife, said they owned the
single-story, wood-frame house the couple was renting. She said the
family had recently moved in and were busy painting and getting carpets
cleaned. They shared a bedroom in the back of the house, and Laura Cima
said the children were sleeping in a front room Saturday morning. She
described an unused back bedroom where she and her husband saw flames
pouring out of a window when they arrived Saturday.
Gray is a few miles outside Corbin, a city of about
7,000 in the foothills of Appalachia near the Daniel Boone National
Forest and the borders of Tennessee and Virginia.
At the J&G market, a popular convenience store
where the couple and the children frequently stopped to buy candy and
milk, employee Amy Weddle had set out a jar on the counter asking for
donations to help with funeral expenses.
"Everybody is very heartbroken over it. Everybody knows the Disney family," Weddle said. "They're always good to everybody."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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