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Seven children die in Pennsylvania farmhouse fire

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Fire engulfed a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, killing seven children while their mother milked cows in a nearby barn and their father was out driving a milk delivery truck, police said on Wednesday.

One child survived the blaze at the two-story home in Blain, a Mennonite community in Southwest Township, Perry County, according to Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Myra Taylor.

The father left the house shortly before the fire began for his job as a milk delivery truck driver.

The mother was alerted to the fire by the couple's 3-year-old daughter, who ran to the barn a few hundred feet from the house. Police said the mother tried to enter the house unsuccessfully before calling 911 from a neighbor's house.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and entered the house, where they found the bodies of the seven children, including six girls -- from 7 months to 11 years old -- and a 7-year-old boy. The Perry County coroner said their deaths were caused by smoke inhalation.

State police fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire, Taylor said in a statement.

Police did not disclose the names of the family members.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

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