Six brothers, aged 25 to 10, were killed in a fire that destroyed a family home in rural Indiana early Saturday morning, officials said.
Authorities identified the victims as Paige Ridener, 25; James Ridener, 15; Jordan Ridener, 13; Joshua Ridener, 12; Emilee Ridener, 11; and Elizabeth Ridener, 10.
The five younger siblings lived in the residence, but the oldest was at home for a few weeks, Sergeant. Stephen Wheeles of the Indiana State Police said Sunday.
The fire broke out in Vevay, a rural town on the Ohio River, about 100 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
The fire was reported shortly after three in the morning and may have started on the porch of the two-story family home, said David Hosick, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, which includes the State Fire Marshal.
When the firefighters arrived, the house was completely involved, he said. Joseph Buchheit, 33, who was visiting the house, managed to escape without injury. Buchheit, who was Paige Ridener's boyfriend, tried to enter the house again, but failed because of the strong fire and smoke, officials said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but officials said there was no indication that it was intentionally committed or that there was a crime.
Josh South, who said he was a close friend of the family and who started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the family with expenses, he declined to comment on the family for privacy reasons.
"When the family decides, they will release any information related to this terrible tragedy," he said in a Facebook message on Sunday.
Hosick said the last fire in the state in which he remembered this magnitude was in 2018, when six family members were killed at your home in Logansport. Four children died in the fire, which was considered accidental.
Hosick said the fire in Vevay "will hit these people hard."
Sergeant Wheeles said, "When many people in a family group or a group of friends die in a fire, it is devastating."
"We have firefighters and police who responded and had to deal with the consequences," he said. "It is a difficult situation around."
Johnny Diaz and Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.