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Northern Ill. house fire kills 4 family members

Published: Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 4:43 p.m. CDT
Rockford Fire Department Investigator Mark Marinaro talks with Tara Gonzalez at the scene of an early-morning house fire that claimed four lives Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Rockford. Gonzalez is a relative of the fire victims. Fire Division Chief Matthew Knott says that fire investigators preliminarily suspect the fire was caused by an electrical problem. An investigation is ongoing. (AP Photo/Rockford Register Star, Max Gersh)

ROCKFORD (AP) — A fire at a northern Illinois home early Monday killed a woman, her son and two of her grandchildren, including a 10-month-old girl.

Diontae Cashatt, a relative of the victims, told the Rockford Register Star that he saw a Christmas tree burning inside the home and went to put it out.

"I tried to get some water, but by the time I got to the kitchen to get water, the fire was already spreading," Cashatt said. "I tried to go upstairs and I couldn't."

Sharon Cashatt, 61, her son Douglas Cashatt, 21, and her grandchildren, 10-month-old Isabella Gonzalez and 13-year-old Dominick Cashatt were found dead in upstairs bedrooms after the blaze, said Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia. Autopsies were scheduled for Tuesday.

Two adults in their 20s were able to escape the fire, said Matthew Knott a division fire chief.

Knott said the blaze was burning throughout the single-family home when firefighters arrived. He said they "made numerous rescue attempts, but unfortunately we have to report there are four confirmed fatalities."

Investigators believe the fire was accidental but are trying to determine its cause.

The fire destroyed home. It was the first fatal fire in Rockford since 2010.

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