Seven children die in Pennsylvania farmhouse fire

PITTSBURGH Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:45am EST

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PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Fire engulfed a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, killing seven children while their mother milked cows in a nearby barn and their father was out driving a milk delivery truck, police said on Wednesday.

One child survived the blaze at the two-story home in Loysville in Perry County, according to Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Myra Taylor. Police had earlier said the fire was in Blaine.

The father left the house shortly before the fire began for his job as a milk delivery truck driver.

The mother was alerted to the fire by the couple's 3-year-old daughter, who ran to the barn a few hundred feet from the house. Police said the mother tried to enter the house unsuccessfully before calling 911 from a neighbor's house.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and entered the house, where they found the bodies of the seven children, including six girls -- from 7 months to 11 years old -- and a 7-year-old boy. The Perry County coroner said their deaths were caused by smoke inhalation.

State police fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire, Taylor said in a statement.

Police did not disclose the names of the family members.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

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