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Uncle recounts deadly house fire

Seven people, including five children between 10 months and 3 years old, died Saturday.

Lisa Norman-Hudson/Associated Press

Seven people, including five children between 10 months and 3 years old, died Saturday.

GRAY, Ky. — Gino Cima raced to a house as it was engulfed by flames in rural Kentucky, frantically trying to save his nephew, his nephew’s pregnant fiancee, and five young children inside.

But he was too late: He found his nephew’s body near a side door, positioned in a way that suggested the man had been trying to rescue the sleeping children. Cima said Sunday that he arrived within minutes of hearing of the Saturday morning blaze.

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‘‘When I opened the screen door, she was laying at the door with her head to the door. And I pulled her out,’’ he said. ‘‘And about 2 feet from her laying the other way was [my nephew]. And I went in and got him and pulled him out. But they was done gone.’’

Cima said he raced to the front of the house to try to save the children ‘‘And that’s when they had the five babies laying out in the front yard,’’ he said.

The Knox County coroner and State Police have not yet identified the victims, but family members said the five children killed ranged in age from 10 months to 3 years.

Relatives said the nephew’s fiancee was the mother of three of the children who died. The other two children were siblings and friends of the family, visiting for the night for a sleepover, the relatives said.

Officials said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Arson investigators were at the scene Saturday, but officials said no foul play was suspected. State Police said Sunday that no more information on the fire would be released until Monday.

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