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House fire kills 3 children, injures a fourth

– Three children, all younger than 10, were killed early Saturday when a fire gutted the room of the southern Indiana house where they were sleeping, authorities said.

A fourth child was hospitalized, Floyd County Coroner Dr. Leslie Knable said. The children’s mother was with that child at an undisclosed hospital, she said.

Authorities had not released the victims’ names as of Saturday afternoon.

New Albany Fire Marshal Chris Koehler said the children’s bodies were found in a front room of the home where they apparently had been sleeping.

Koehler said the rest of the house in the Ohio River city just north of Louisville sustained major heat and smoke damage from the fire, which was reported just after 2 a.m.

He said firefighters had to force their way into the back of the home.

Lee Lipford, who identified herself as a cousin of the children’s mother, said the family is in agony.

“The whole family’s hurting. Everybody loved those kids like they were their own kids,” Lipford said.

Koehler said the cause and circumstances of the fire remain under investigation, including whether the children’s mother and another adult were inside or outside at the time of the fire.

Knable said she believes the woman and the adult who lived at the home were outside when they saw flames and reported the fire.

Neighbor Marshaun Long said the woman and her children lived in a neighboring apartment complex but that they frequently visited the home and played in the neighborhood.

“The whole block has been crying,” Long said. “I sat my kids down and talked to them. It’s a horrible thing. My kids never seen me shed a tear until today.”