Fatal blaze in Mount Sterling brings Kentucky's death toll from house fires to 13 since Thursday

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 2, 2014 

A fatal house fire Sunday in Mount Sterling was at least the third one in Kentucky since Thursday, raising the death toll to 13.

A man died early Sunday in a house fire on E Street near downtown Mount Sterling, Montgomery County Coroner S. Josh Coffman said.

Coffman said he did not expect to release the identity of the victim until Monday afternoon, pending review of dental records. He said an autopsy was conducted Sunday afternoon.

Coffman said five people were in the house — a family of four with two children and the victim, who was a guest.

He said authorities received an emergency call about the fire at 3:11 a.m. Sunday.

"About half of the house was destroyed, and flames from it destroyed about half of a neighbor's house, but no one in the second house was hurt," he said.

Kentucky State Police said that its investigation was continuing and that cause of the fire has not been determined.

Meanwhile, Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said Sunday that DNA tests would be needed to make positive identifications of three bodies found Saturday in the ruins of a burned house on Oakley Wells Road in rural Madison County.

He said the victims were adults: two males and a female.

"We are fairly certain that it's the people we think they are, but we have to be positive before we can release any names," Cornelison said.

He said state police and the state fire marshal's office had not yet confirmed the cause of the fire, but it appeared to start from efforts to heat the house.

On Thursday, a mother and eight of her children died of smoke inhalation in a house fire in Muhlenberg County. The father and another child were injured and are being treated in Nashville.

LaRae "Nikki" Watson, 35, and eight of her nine children — Madison, 15; Kaitlyn, 14; Morgan, 13; Emily, 9; Samuel, 8; Raegan, 6; and twins Mark and Nathaniel, 4 — died.

Chad Watson and daughter Kylie Watson, 11, remained in critical but stable condition Sunday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Police think the fire was accidental, saying it started near an electric baseboard heater.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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