Nightly News   |  January 30, 2014

Mother, Eight Children Die in Kentucky House Fire

In rural Kentucky, officials are trying to figure out what happened in a deadly house fire overnight.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and there has been a terrible tragedy in western kentucky in a small town where a house caught fire in the early morning hours today in the bitter cold. nine members of a single family were killed. a mother and eight of her children. nbc's john yang has our report tonight.

>> reporter: the small wood framed house was engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived, shortly after 2:00 a.m ., too hot to enter. 11 people lived in the three bedroom home. chad watson, a 36-year-old lay minister, his 35-year-old wife, nikki, and nine children, the oldest, 15, the youngest, four-year-old twins, only chandler and a daughter, 11-year-old kylie escaped, critically injured.

>> the father told the first responder responders that the family was here.

>> reporter: eight were in the mast master bedroom , the ninth about ten feet away.

>> i'm numb, don't know what to do, just stand and watch, so helpless.

>> reporter: neighbors say the family was well established in the small coal mining community, the second generation to live in the house.

>> my wife is pretty tore up over it. and you know we just have to get through it.

>> reporter: on the baptist church 's facebook page you will forever be in our hearts. and thoughts for the survivors as they journey through this dark, terrible time. investigators said an electric base board heater in a bedroom appears to have ignited nearby combustible materials, overnight, the temperatures were in the teens. the stationary and portable heaters account for 81% of deaths, a heartbreaking and all too familiar tragedy. john yang , nbc news, chicago.