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Five Cousins Killed in Miss. Blaze

January 3, 1998

BRUCE, Miss. (AP) _ A fire that apparently started in the chimney swept through a wood frame house in rural northern Mississippi early Friday, killing five cousins who were staying with their grandmother.

The victims, ranging in age from 3 to 19, were asleep and apparently died of smoke inhalation, said Sheriff Billy Mac Gore.

Neighbors were able to wake the grandmother, Rosie Kelley, and several other family members were also saved, including a 13-year-old girl who jumped from a window, the sheriff said. She was burned, but not seriously.

``The neighbors tried to get those others. The smoke was so bad inside the house, they couldn’t do it,″ he said. ``There was nothing anyone could do.″

The sheriff said the children ``mostly likely were taken out by the smoke and never felt the flames.″

Two of the victims were brothers, two others were a brother and sister and the fifth was a cousin. They were visiting from their homes in Memphis, Tenn., and adjacent Yalobusha County.

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