Family killed in Western Kentucky fire may have tried to escape

GREENVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky State Police say a fire that killed 9 people started accidentally with combustible material against an electric baseboard heater in a bedroom.

Trooper Stu Recke said the fact that all the victims were found in a master bedroom could be an indication that they were trying to escape through a window, but investigators aren't sure.

Eight children and their mother died in the fire in Greenville in the western part of the state, while the father and an 11-year-old girl escaped with injuries.

"It's hard to believe that the whole families wiped out like that," Clarence Humphrey who lives right next door told WKYT's Sean Moody. "I knew some of the little kids. Little redheaded blue-eyed boys."

Humphrey heard sirens shortly after the fire broke out about 2 a.m. CST in the Depoy community of Muhlenberg County.

"I saw that house engulfed in flames, and I knew 11 people live there. And I thought to myself they're not getting out. And you know what happened nine of them didn't," said Humphrey. "You're standing there helpless and can't do a thing. That's the hardest part. Not being able to do anything."

Autopsies on the remains of the family members were started Thursday afternoon.


Kentucky State Police say they have recovered nine bodies from an early morning blaze in the western part of the state. Along with their mother, children ranging from four to 15 years-old were killed.

The victims have been identified as:
Nikki Watson, age 35
Madison Watson, age 15
Kaitlyn Watson, age 14
Morgan Watson, age 13
Emily Watson, age 9
Samuel Watson, age 8
Raegan Watson, age 6
Mark & Nathaniel Watson, 4 year-old twins

Trooper Stu Recke said a father and daughter survived the fire and are at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. They have been identified as 36 year-old Chad Watson and 11 year-old Kylie Watson. Hospital officials tell WKYT the two are critical but stable. Jordan Vilines spoke to the family's pastor this afternoon, who is at the father's bedside in Nashville. He says they are asking for prayers.

The fire broke out about 2 a.m. CST in the Depoy community of Muhlenberg County. Investigators say they are still working to determine the cause.

The bodies will be transported from the scene to Madisonville, where they will undergo an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.


Kentucky State Police say they have recovered nine bodies from an early morning blaze in the western part of the state. Along with their mother, children ranging from four to 15 years old were killed.

Trooper Stu Recke said a father and daughter who survived the blaze are at a hospital in Nashville, Tenn. He didn't know their conditions.

A relative says a couple in their 30s lived in the house with their nine children.

The children's mother who was killed is 35-year-old Larae Watson. The children killed were Madison Watson, 15 years old; Kaitlyn Watson, 14; Morgan Watson, 13; Emily Watson, 9; Samuel Watson, 8; Raegan Watson, 6; four-year-old twins Mark and Nathaniel Watson.

Recke said the adult who fled the fire about 2 a.m. CST in the Depoy community of Muhlenberg County told first responders that most of the family remained inside the house.

Investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze.

The bodies will be transported from the scene to Madisonville, where they will undergo an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
The coroner expects to have those results later today.


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