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Eight Dead After Early Morning Rowhouse Fire

December 5, 1992

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) _ Eight children were killed today by a fire that may have been caused by a stove being used for heat, authorities said.

″I woke up and I heard this lady yelling: ’Help my children 3/8 Help my children 3/8‴ said Chante Coleman, who was at a friend’s house next door.

T.J. Long, an investigator with the Delaware County Medical Examiner’s Office, said he pronounced seven people dead in the house, all children under the age of 10.

″They were all in the same room, huddled together,″ he said.

An eighth child, a baby, was brought out of the house but died soon after, according to firefighters on the scene.

The cause of death was believed to be smoke inhalation, Long said.

The children’s mother and her fiance were in a second floor bedroom and another man was downstairs, Long said. All of them got out safely.

According to police and news reports from the scene, firefighters found gas jets on and the oven door open in the kitchen stove, an indication that it was being used to heat the house.

Another investigator said a space heater with a frayed electrical cord could have been a source of the fire.

County detectives and state police arson experts were called to investigate.

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