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Police: DNA to be used to ID 3 killed in rural Owen County house fire

The front end of a firetruck. (WISH Photo)

SPENCER, Ind. (AP) — Investigators will use DNA testing to identify three people who died in a weekend house fire in rural southern Indiana, police said.

Cadaver dogs from the State Fire Marshal’s Office found the victims’ bodies inside the home Sunday after firefighters extinguished the blaze, said Owen County Sheriff Ryan White.

The fire was reported about 5 a.m. Sunday in the unincorporated Owen County community of Patricksburg. White said first responders learned about a half-hour after they arrived that three residents were likely trapped inside the burning residence.

“It was pretty much done by the time they got there,” he told The Herald-Times. “… It’s a terrible tragedy.”

While authorities are reasonably certain who the victims are, White said DNA will be used to confirm their identities. Autopsies were expected to be performed Tuesday in Terre Haute.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. White said foul play is not suspected in the fire at the one-story home, which was heated by a wood-burning stove.

Patricksburg is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of the Owen County seat of Spencer.