At least five dead in fire at house in rural Iowa

Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:53pm EST

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(Reuters) - At least five people died in a fire that destroyed a house in rural northeast Iowa on Friday morning, authorities said.

Fire crews found the house about 70 miles west of Dubuque, Iowa, engulfed in flames but the cause has not been determined, authorities said.

"We are in recovery now and trying to find all the bodies,"

said Ron Humphrey, a special agent for the Iowa state fire marshal. "There is quite a bit of damage and we have not even started digging into the cause yet."

Humphrey said the owner of the house apparently rented part of it out. Children were among those who died in the blaze, he said. There may be another victim in the structure, he said.

The house was 1-1/2 or two stories but was reduced to five or six feet of rubble by the fire, Humphrey said.

The fire was reported at about 3:35 a.m. Central Time (0435 ET), the Fayette County sheriff's office said. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and state fire marshal are assisting in the investigation.

(The story corrects time in last paragraph to 0435 ET)

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by David Bailey and James Dalgleish)

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