Man charged in house fire that killed 4 children

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Associated Press

PERCY, Ill. (AP) - Prosecutors in Randolph County have filed first-degree murder charges against a suspect in connection with an overnight house fire that killed four Illinois children.
   
Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker announced Friday that a criminal complaint has been filed against Derrick J. Twardoski. The statement from the state's attorney's office says Twardoski is being held without bond pending a first court appearance at the Randolph County Jail.
   
His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
   
Earlier Friday, Walker identified the victims as four members of the Owen family: 12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Kailey and 5-year-old twins Brandon and Landon.
   
He says another child suffered smoke inhalation and is being treated at a hospital. The children's parents and an 18-year-old woman also escaped the fire.

Earlier story:

PERCY, Ill. (AP) - Authorities are questioning a person in connection with the overnight house fire that killed four Illinois children.
   
Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says he anticipates charges will be filed later Friday.
   
Walker identified the victims as four members of the Owen family: 12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Kailey and 5-year-old twins Brandon and Landon.
   
He says another child suffered smoke inhalation and is being treated at a hospital. The children's parents and an 18-year-old woman also escaped the fire.
   
The fire broke out just before 2 a.m. The blaze badly damaged the two-story home.
   
Investigators from multiple agencies have been working on the case.

Earlier story:

PERCY, Ill. (AP) - Four children have perished in an overnight house fire in a small southwestern Illinois village.
   
Illinois State Fire Marshal spokeswoman Milly Santiago says two of the victims were 5 years old and the others were 9 and 12.
   
Santiago says three adults and a 6-year-old child were able to escape the blaze in Percy about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. A state Fire Marshal's investigator on the scene tells Santiago authorities are following leads, but it's too early to say whether they blaze was set intentionally.
   
Randolph County Coroner Randy Dudenbostel says the fire broke out just before 2 a.m. The blaze badly damaged the two-story home.
   
The names of the victims were not being released pending notification of relatives.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Earlier story:

PERCY, Ill. (AP) - An overnight fire at a house in southwestern Illinois has killed four people.
   
Randolph County Coroner Randy Dudenbostel says that in addition to the fatalities, at least one person at the house was injured and taken to a hospital.
   
He says the fire broke out just before 2 a.m. in Percy, a village in a rural area that is home to about 1,000 people. Percy is about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
   
The blaze badly damaged the two-story home.
   
The names of the victims were not being released pending notification of relatives.
   
The cause of the fire is being investigated by local and state law enforcement and fire officials.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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