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Grandma, 3 Visiting Grandkids Die in Fire

Holiday blaze 'just tragic,' sheriff says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2014 1:01 PM CST
Grandma, 3 Visiting Grandkids Die in Fire
This aerial photo taken from video provided by WCMH-TV shows a burned out home in Washington Court House, Ohio, on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/WCMH-TV)

The bodies of a grandmother and the three grandchildren who were visiting her for Christmas were pulled today from the burned-out remains of her Ohio home. "To lose three children and a grandparent, it's devastating to the family," Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth tells the AP, calling it "just a tragic, tragic" situation. A neighbor reported the blaze at the single-story home around 4am, and no cause is yet known. The Columbus Dispatch identifies the victims as Terry Harris, 60, and grandsons, Kenyon, 14, Broderick, 11, and Braylon, 9.

"Grandma was close to the front door. 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 get out," Stanforth tells WCMH. "The smoke had to be so intense that it would have overcome them all every quickly." The boys' parents, Ricky and Traci Harris, live just two doors down and were on the scene within minutes. The children had been with their other grandma earlier in the day, and were spending the night with Harris so she wouldn't be alone on Christmas. When their maternal grandma heard about the fire, she says, "I walked the (adjacent) fields, hoping the babies got out." (More fire stories.)

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