By Jeff Noble
Seven persons — a man, a woman and five children — perished Saturday morning in a house fire on Sam Parker Road in the Gray community in Knox County.
As of Saturday afternoon, the names of those who died were not identified and have not been confirmed. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene by Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins.
"All seven are not part of one family. There were other non-family members inside the home. All were located inside the residence," said State Police Sgt. Jimmy Young at the scene Saturday afternoon as fire crews were finishing up their work, after extinguishing the flames.
Young confirmed Saturday evening five of the seven victims lived in the house that caught fire. They included the man, his girlfriend and her three children. The other two who died were children who were friends of the family.
Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins said in a phone interview Saturday the autopsies on the seven who died would "more than likely be done Monday evening or Tuesday in Frankfort," at the State Medical Examiner's Office. Blevins added the preliminary cause and manner of their deaths has not yet been determined.
Along with fire departments and law enforcement personnel, the Kentucky State Police arson investigator and the State Fire Marshall's Office was sent to the fire, which destroyed the wood and brick house on the corner of Sam Parker Road and Shady Brook Lane.
Young said preliminary results from the arson investigator and State Fire Marshall's Office indicated no foul play, and the cause of the fire was undetermined at the time.
The investigation of the fire continues.
Kentucky State Police in Harlan said the blaze happened at 9:57 a.m., when they received a call from Knox County 911 about a structure fire in Gray, located between Corbin and Barbourville. The caller also advised that "there were several subjects inside the residence deceased."
When first responders arrived at the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames.
From the hilltop of Sam Parker Road, the midday scene was a somber one.
A fire truck blocked access to the area affected by the blaze from the general public, with first responders and law enforcement officers the only ones allowed to enter. Numerous neighbors in the area looked saddened as they came up the hill from the house on the bottom. Very little was said by anyone as area residents waited for any news of what occurred.
Only a few hours earlier the site was a home filled with family and friends visiting for the start of the weekend.
An earlier update to the news media from Young confirmed the unthinkable.
"There were several victims. It was a fatal fire with more than one victim," he noted around 1 p.m., after the last of the flames had been put out about a half-hour earlier.
Around 2 p.m. Young reported the bodies of the seven victims had been removed from the house.
The Times-Tribune will have more on the tragedy in Monday's edition.
(Becky Killian contributed to this story)
By Jeff Noble
Brian Martin, fifth from right, explains to the group about how things work at E & B Farms in East Bernstadt. Approximately 50 people took the Laurel County Kiwanis Farm/Industry Tour Thursday. E & B Farms specializes in Registered Black Angus cattle.
Fun on the Farm
Farming and industry — that’s part of the backbone and history of most areas of southeastern Kentucky.
- Fun on the Farm
- Local News
New design approved for Pleasant View Elementary
Pleasant View Elementary School got its new design approved during a special meeting of the Whitley County Board of Education Thursday.
Networking the region’s future
They say, “It pays to have connections, and to stay connected.” In the case of Leadership Tri-County, that saying is part of the bigger picture of identifying and nurturing potential leaders from the region now into leaders needed in the years ahead.
Officials set to launch Click It Or Ticket
Picture this: It’s a beautiful spring day, and you decide to take the family out of the house on a drive somewhere in the country.
Business interested in former Lion Uniform building
A current Williamsburg business is one step closer to opening bigger doors after Monday’s Williamsburg City Council meeting.
- New design approved for Pleasant View Elementary
- Local Sports
North Laurel's Kailin Yantz slides back into first during the Lady Jaguars' 5-2 loss to Somerset.
Jumpers stun North
Both North Laurel and Somerset struggled at the plate for six innings, but that didn’t mean the two teams weren’t going to provide some fireworks during the game’s final inning of play Thursday.
On the move
Mother Nature played a big role during the opening day of the Boys and Girls State Tennis Tournaments. She caused just enough havoc to put a major dent into Thursday’s first and second round schedules.
- Jumpers stun North
Disturbing trend of hyperbole in media, politics
There is a disturbing trend of absolute hyperbole on the part of news media and political speakers. What I’m talking about is the immediate use of top shelf words like “dictator,” “fascist,” “communist,” and this really has to stop.
- Disturbing trend of hyperbole in media, politics
Gone, but not forgotten
At 2 p.m. Thursday, the students, teachers and staff of Corbin Elementary School took time out to remember one of their own.
- Gone, but not forgotten
Corbin to host electronic recycling day
As technology changes, so does the hardware. That means older computers, televisions and other electronic equipment have to find their way out of your home or office, and into the waste bin.
- Corbin to host electronic recycling day