Four dead as fire sweeps through N.Y. home, spreads to nearby church, other buildings
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Fire swept through a home early Wednesday, killing a woman and three of her children and damaging four other buildings, including a neighboring church.The father managed to alert his oldest daughter in time for her to escape and then jumped to safety from a second-floor window, Fire Chief Clifford Colgan said.Emergency crews found Michael Ray, 56, and his daughter Courtney, 17, on the front lawn.”He kept saying ‘My wife! My kids! My wife! My kids!”‘ said neighbor Rick Smith, who said he was awakened by an explosion. He said he and another neighbor ran around the burning house but could not find a way in.Killed in the fire were Laurie Ray, 34, her son Kenneth, 16, and two other daughters, Alicia, 15, and Christy, 10.Michael Ray suffered burns and broken bones. He was listed in fair condition Wednesday afternoon at the Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City. Courtney Ray was treated and released.Smith said Laurie Ray worked as a nurse and the couple opened a variety store in Johnson City in January. Michael Ray also was an unpaid auxiliary police officer in Binghamton, police said.The cause of the fire was under investigation, but there was no immediate reason to believe it was suspicious, authorities said.Firefighters were slowed by about four explosions and downed power lines. They found an oxygen tank and an acetylene tank in the wreckage and were examining them, Colgan said.Emergency crews used a backhoe to clear rubble so police and firefighters could search for bodies. All four were recovered by mid-afternoon.A church next door to the destroyed home was heavily damaged, three neighboring homes were damaged and an unknown number of residents were evacuated from those buildings.Binghamton is a city of about 45,000 residents just north of the Pennsylvania state line.Vail, Colorado
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