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Family of Five Dies in Virginia House Fire

July 9, 1996

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) _ A blaze that engulfed a house in flames before firefighters could arrive killed a family of five, whose bodies were found near a bedroom window.

The fire early Monday killed Osama and Felicia Abouzeid and their children, 10-year-old Gina, 6-year-old Nadia, and Sara, 5, said Deputy Fire Marshal John Jennings.

The cause of the Lynchburg blaze wasn’t determined, but it appeared to have started in the living room, possibly burning for several hours before it was noticed, Jennings said.

Its location prevented the Abouzeid family from escaping through the front or back doors, authorities said.

``There were indications there may have been an attempt to break a window,″ said Fire Marshal Wayne Saunders. ``But they may have been overcome with smoke.″

Elsewhere, a house fire early today in Columbus, Ohio, killed a father and his four children and seriously injured a 45-year-old woman, authorities said.

Steve Martin, criminal division chief of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, identified the dead as Peter James Stegler, 32; his daughter, Stephanie, 6; and his sons, Joe, 5, and Jack, 4. The injured woman’s relationship to the family was not clear.

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