Troopers: 5 children confirmed dead in early morning Butte fire

Published: Sep. 7, 2017 at 10:22 AM AKDT
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3:45 p.m. Update:

An early morning trailer fire in Butte claimed the lives of five young girls between the ages of three and 12.

Spokesperson with the Alaska State Troopers Megan Peters said emergency responders were first notified of the blaze on Wickham Drive just before seven in the morning on Thursday.

Throughout the day, fire investigators were working behind yellow emergency tape, sifting through the burnt rubble from the trailer and searching for any clues into what caused the blaze.

“In trailer fires in general, they burn very hot and very fast. It doesn’t give a lot of time for people to move around, certainly smoke inhalation is a concern in the fire,” said Peters.

Peters said because the investigation is in its early stages, she could not answer questions as to who initially called 911, if there were any other injuries involved while the fire was burning, if there were any other individuals inside the trailer or where the parents of the children were located during the fire.

Peters said, a fire like this can take an emotional toll to investigate.

“It’s devastating on a whole community” said Peters. “The neighbors, the law enforcement, the people that respond to it, the firefighters that respond to it. I mean any death is bad enough, but then you have five and small children, it really is going to be impacting the community for a while.”

Fire investigators were said to be conducting interviews with neighbors throughout the day.

10:30 a.m. Update:

Troopers say that the bodies of five children were recovered in a "burned-out trailer" on the property.

"The victims are believed to all be female, ages ranging from 3 to 12," troopers wrote in a statement.

None of the children have been identified yet. Their remains will be transported to the State Medical Examiner's office for autopsy and identification.

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This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
Original Story:

Three people have been confirmed dead following a residential fire in the Butte area Thursday.

According to Megan Peters with the Alaska State Troopers, two additional people are unaccounted for.

In a report, authorities say they were notified of the fire along with the Alaska Fire Marshal's Office just before 7 a.m. on Thursday.

Peters said that the structure "is a residential property off of Wickham [Drive]," but could not provide the specific address.

Units responded to the home and continue "efforts to find the two uncounted for people."