The Latest: Oregon mother, son succumb to injuries from fire

AP News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2017 1:22 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on a house fire in rural Oregon that killed four children (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

Authorities say a woman and her 13-year-old son who were critically injured in a rural Oregon house fire have died.

Erin Patrick with the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office told The Associated Press that 38-year-old Tabitha Howell and 13-year-old Andrew Hall-Young both died at a Portland hospital Thursday afternoon.

Patrick says both died from injuries sustained in the early Wednesday fire that also killed four children ages 4 to 13.

James Howell remained at the hospital Thursday for treatment of critical burns.

Fire officials say a portable space heater was to blame.

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2:35 p.m.

An aunt of four children killed in a house fire in a rural Oregon town says they were "kind, outgoing and full of joy."

Heather Hendrick said Thursday that she last saw her nieces and nephews in January for a post-Christmas family dinner.

The blaze early Wednesday in the tiny timber town of Riddle killed the children who ranged from 4 to 13.

Critically burned were their mother, Tabitha Howell, her husband James Howell and a 13-year-old sibling. One of the deceased children was a foster child.

Fire officials say a portable space heater was to blame.

Heather Hendrick is married to Tabitha Howell's step-brother.

She says Tabitha Howell served in the U.S. Navy and works at a day care center. She's also studying at the Revivalist School of Ministry operated by Garden Valley Church.

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11:50 a.m.

The fire chief in a rural Oregon town says a house fire that killed four children and critically burned three other people was caused by a portable space heater.

Riddle Fire Protection District Chief Rich Holloway said Thursday on the fire district's Facebook page that the fire was caused by combustible materials placed too close to the heater.

The authenticity of the post was confirmed by City Manager Kathy Wilson.

Holloway says a component of the family's fireplace that circulated heated air back into the house had malfunctioned several days before.

The family bought the space heater to stay warm until they could get the fireplace repaired.

Four children ages 4 to 13 died in the blaze.

Thirty-nine-year-old James Keith Howell, 38-year-old Tabitha Annette Howell and 13-year-old Andrew Hall-Young are in critical condition at a Portland hospital.