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Fire official: Up to 9 people assumed dead in blaze at home in western Kentucky, 2 injured

GREENVILLE, Ky. — As many as nine people were killed early Thursday in a house fire in rural western Kentucky and two people were taken to a hospital for treatment, officials said.

Eleven people lived in the home in the Depoy community of Muhlenberg County, Greenville Assistant Fire Chief Roger Chandler said. Chandler referred questions to Kentucky State Police. Officials there did not return phone and email messages immediately Thursday morning.

Chandler said the blaze was reported at 2 a.m. CST Thursday, and crews were still at the scene four hours later. State Fire Marshal investigator Allan Gregory also is at the scene, spokeswoman Ricki Gardenhire said.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokeswoman Dagney Stuart said an adult and a child were taken to the hospital, but she could not provide immediate details about their conditions.

Greenville is in a rural area of the state, about 130 miles southwest of Louisville in the state’s western coal fields. Greenville had a population of just more than 4,000 people in 2010, according to census figures.

The area is featured in John Prine’s song 1971 “Paradise,” about the effect of coal mining and what happens to the area around the Green River once the mining ends. The song references Peabody Energy Corp. and a now-defunct town called Paradise.

The Depoy fire is Kentucky’s third in a little more than a year that has killed five or more people. Last January, four children younger than 6 and their father were killed in a blaze near Pikeville in the eastern part of the state; their mother was severely burned. Authorities said the home lacked a smoke detector. In March, a fire at a home in the southern Kentucky community of Gray killed a young couple and five children, the oldest of whom was 3.

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