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House Fire Kills Woman, Her 3 Daughters

July 20, 2006

NILES, Ohio (AP) _ A fire early Thursday killed a woman and her three daughters, whose bodies were found in the same room of a house in which the only smoke detector lacked a battery, authorities said.

No one else was in the house at the time, Fire Capt. Randy Ciminero said.

The girls were believed to range in age from preschool to early teens, said spokesman Shane Cartmill of the state fire marshal’s office. The fire’s cause had not been determined.

Fire marshals were investigating whether the four were sleeping in the same upstairs room to share an air conditioner or whether the girls fled to their mother’s room, Cartmill said.

Preliminary autopsy results done by the Trumbull County coroner’s office showed the victims died of smoke inhalation, Cartmill said.

Next-door neighbor Al Werman said he heard the children pounding on the walls trying to escape. ``I’ve been hearing those kids’ screams going through my head all day,″ he said. ``I’ve done my share of crying.″

Niles is in northeast Ohio, near Youngstown.

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