- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

NEHAWKA, Neb. (AP) - Investigators say embers or hot ashes from a living room fireplace touched off a fire that killed six members of a southeast Nebraska family.

Thirty-six-year-old Michael and Michelle Speer and their girls were killed early Thursday morning at their home near the village of Nehawka (neh-HAH’-kuh) - about 30 miles south of Omaha.

The Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office said in a news release Monday that flames erupted in combustible materials near the fireplace and soon spread to furnishings and up walls.

The fire marshal’s office says firefighters found all six bodies in beds. A preliminary autopsy report says they died from smoke inhalation.

The four girls have been identified as 11-year-old Elli Perez, 7-year-old Adilynn Speer, 5-year-old Emma Speer and 2-year-old Anniston Speer.

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This story has been corrected to show that the news release came from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office, not the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

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