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5 die in Idaho fire blamed on cord

BOISE — An extension cord hooked to an electric grill on a porch shorted out and started a house fire that killed five people Saturday morning, a northern Idaho fire official said.

Orofino Fire Chief Mike Lee said the house was fully in flames when firefighters arrived after a neighbor reported the fire at 1:38 a.m.

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He said smoke inhalation probably killed the two adults and three teens whose bodies were also badly burned in the blaze.

He said the dead were a family of four plus a teenage friend who was sleeping over to help celebrate a birthday.

Lee said two of the teens attended a local school that includes grades 7 through 12, and one was home schooled. He declined to release names.

Autopsies are planned for Monday, but he said there was no sign of foul play.

‘‘It was an extension cord,’’ the chief said. ‘‘They had it plugged into an appliance and it wasn’t heavy enough to pack the load of the appliance and the cord shorted out.’’

He said the house, a rental, didn’t have smoke alarms. He said three of the victims were found in bed.

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