WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (AP) — The bodies of a woman and her three grandchildren visiting for Christmas were pulled Friday from the burned-out remains of a southwest Ohio home, a state fire marshal’s spokesman said.
Spokesman William Krugh said firefighters were still at the scene Friday afternoon trying to determine what might have caused the blaze, which was reported just after 4 a.m. The single-story ranch-style house was destroyed. He didn’t have names or other details to release immediately.
Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said family members were being informed of what he called “just a tragic, tragic” fire. He said the children lived nearby and were spending the night with their grandmother so she wouldn’t be by herself on Christmas night.
“Grandma was close to the front door,” Stanforth told WCMH TV of Columbus. “The other children were behind her, and so we’re just assuming that she was by the front door, that she was trying to corral the children to help them out.”
Firefighters had sifted through the smoldering debris to find the bodies hours after the fire broke out.
“To lose three children and a grandparent, it’s devastating to the family,” Stanforth told The Associated Press by telephone before the bodies were found. “The fact that it’s the holidays makes it even worse for the community.”
Officials said counselors were being made available Friday afternoon for family, friends and the children’s classmates at Washington Court House city schools’ Liberty Hall.