REPUBLIC, Ohio (AP) – A fast-moving fire leveled a 130-year-old farmhouse overnight on Tuesday, killing five people believed to be from the same family.
Authorities said they believe the victims were three young children who lived at the home along with two adults.
“We assume those are the ones recovered,” said Dean Henry, a spokesman for several volunteer fire departments that responded.
It will be up to a coroner to identify the victims.
A truck driver spotted smoke coming from the house, in rural northwest Ohio, just after 3 a.m. Tuesday and called 911, Henry said. The two-story house was fully engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived, he said.
The wood-frame home, which sat outside the village of Republic, about 50 miles southeast of Toledo, is fairly isolated and surrounded by farm fields. The nearest house is about a quarter-mile away.
Firefighters and investigators spent much of Tuesday looking through the debris for the victims and clues to what caused the fire. The last two victims were found by mid-afternoon.
The family bought the home in 2004, according to county auditor records that said the house was built in 1880.
It’s unclear how the victims were related. One of the three children, ages 6, 8 and 12, has a different last name than the other four.
Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office were looking into the cause of the fire.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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