Early Thursday January 30, a Greenville, Kentucky house fire killed nine members of a family, eight of which were children. It was the home of an eleven member family. The only survivors was an eleven year old girl, Kylie, and her father, Chad J. Watson age thirty-six both of which received significant injuries. According to the Chicago Tribune, Watson is a Baptist Minister as reported by his cousin, Adam Brown, who is a local pastor in Central City, Kentucky at the Temple Baptist Church. Authorities told press associates that a mother and her eight children were the victims of this early morning fire. The mother was identified to be thirty-five year old LaRae “Nikki” Watson and the other eight children ranged from ages four and fifteen, among them was a fifteen year old girl and her twin brothers.
After escaping the burning home Chad Watson and his daughter were taken to Nashville, Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This morning after early reports had been release it was said that six of the nine had been identified and reported dead and the remaining three were reported unaccounted for but assumed dead. According to CBS News, the nine members of this Kentucky family killed by this house fire was: thirty-five year old LaRae “Nikki” Watson, fifteen year old Madison, fourteen year old Kaitlyn, thirteen year old Morgan, nine year old Emily, eight year old Samuel, six year old Raegan, and four year old twins Mark and Nathaniel. LaRae and Chad were married for eighteen years.
The house itself was located about a hundred and thirty miles outside and Louisville and about five miles outside of Greenville in a rural community of Muhlenburg County. According to Kentucky State Police trooper, Corey King, who informed press associates that this house fire was ruled to be an accident. This confirmation was also reiterated by the states Fire Marshall’s Office. They reported that an electric space heater in one of the homes bedrooms had set fire to near by combustibles causing the house to immediately set fire. The fire was reported at around 2 a.m. Thursday morning. First to respond to the billowing smoke were close by neighbors who upon arriving to the scene said the house had already been fully engulfed with flames.
Brown told press associates that the house caught fire rapidly and said that although Watson was conscious upon the arrival of authorities to the scene he did have to be sedated by emergency personnel in order to be flown to Vanderbilt. He reported that Watson suffered from intense burns to the face and hands, while his daughter was in much better shape with burns to the face and arms. According to the Chicago Tribune, both were intended to recovery, but upon arrival were reported to be in critical but stable condition.
Another family member, Ricky Keith, told CBS News that the house itself was in worn out shape. Watson worked construction, delivered a local newspaper, all along with his work as a Baptist Minister, while LaRae was a stay at home mother taking care of all nine children. According to Keith the family was financially struggling but each of them lived for one another and loved each other very much.
CNN News affiliates captured an aerial view of the home, which showed only a house’s charred exterior with blackened debris surrounded the area. Likewise, CBS News reported that most of the house had collapsed around the chimney. What was left standing was a white van that stood in the near by parking lot, along with five kid bikes and toys strewn across the lawn. For this Kentucky family, nine of their members who were killed by house fire will be forever missed.
By Sarah Widger