In a tragic story out of rural Kentucky today, five family members perished in a deadly blaze when their home caught fire overnight.
5-year-old Dakota Lee, 4-year-old Tyler Lane, 2-year-old Cheyenne and 6-month old Emily all died, along with their father, Billy Wilfong. Their mother tried desperately to gain access to the house, but by the time she arrived it was simply too hot to even get close. Gemma Blair, a neighbor and the children’s great-aunt, said she tried to help as well.
“There was nothing I could do, I got second-degree burns just getting close to it,” she said.
The childrens’ mother, Tammie Tucker, was rushed to University of Kentucky Medical Center with severe burns. Investigators say they haven’t even been able to start the recovery process yet because the entire area is just too hot. It may be weeks before a cause is discovered, but in rural areas it’s not uncommon for fires to be started by kerosene heaters or other alternative heating methods in the wintertime.
No matter what the cause, a Pike County family is in mourning today, and a community mourns along with them. For most, this is the first fire to take almost an entire family in their lifetime.
“It’s probably been the worst we’ve had in this area in a long, long time,” Trooper Tony Watts said.