JONANCY, KY (WAVE/AP) – An overnight house fire in southeastern Kentucky has claimed the lives of five people, including four young children.
Authorities said the fire started around 2:30 a.m. at a home on Ellswick Branch Road in the Jonancy community, located southeast of Virgie. Volunteer fire crews from Shelby Valley were first to respond to the alarm.
A relative who lives nearby told The Associated Press that she awoke to find the house was fully engulfed in flames. Glema Blair, the children's great aunt, said she ran to the home, which was just behind her house, but suffered second-degree burns trying to get close to the burning building. Blair also said the mother of the children, Tammie Tucker, and Tucker's father were trying to get to the children, but were unable to.
Blair identified the children to The Associated Press as 5-year-old Dakota Lee; 4-year-old Tyler Lane; 2-year-old Cheyenne and an infant, Emily, who was six months old. She said the adult victim was the children's father, Billy Wilfong.
Tammie Tucker suffered burns and airlifted to UK Medical Center in Lexington. According to The Associated Press, a hospital spokesperson said Tucker is listed in critical condition.
Doug Tackett, emergency services coordinator for Pike County, said recovery of the bodies has not begun yet because of hot spots that still marked the house as of early Wednesday afternoon.