GRAY, Ky. – Under rainy skies on Monday, fire investigators sifted through the charred remains of a house where seven people died in a weekend fire, while offers of support ranged from free funeral services to donations left in an empty bubble gum container.
The fire Saturday morning killed an engaged couple and five children, including two friends who were spending the night. Authorities hadnt determined the cause or released the victims names Monday.
Its heartbreaking losing them kids like that. Those kids were helpless, said Bobby James Disney, whose nephew was one of the adults killed.
At the nearby J&G Market convenience store, which doubles as a coffee shop and community gathering point, clerk Amy Weddle said: Everybodys just so sad.
Weddle, who circulated a sympathy card among customers for the family of one of the adults killed, said people have called from as far away as California promising to send money to help the victims families. An empty bubble-gum container placed on the store counter for donations contained $34 Monday morning.
Family members said the victims included the couple, the womans three children and two young friends who were spending the night. The children ranged in age from 10 months to 3 years.
Investigators were combing through the one-story house Monday for clues to the cause of the blaze that was discovered about 9 a.m. Officials said it could be a while before a cause is determined.
Autopsies on the seven bodies were continuing Monday, said State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs, who also declined to discuss what may have caused the blaze. Knox County Coroner Michael Blevins said it will likely be Tuesday before the identities of those killed are released.
Disney said he still cannot believe what happened.
Its not set in yet, he said. It wont set in until you go to the funeral home and see the bodies.