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Mobile Home Fire Kills Eight

Eight people, including an infant, were killed in northwest Georgia in the early morning hours of Wednesday when fire spread through their mobile home.

Officials say the four bedroom, double-wide mobile home was completely engulfed by flames when they arrived at 3:15 a.m.

"When I walked out at about 3 o'clock this morning I heard crackling noises and then I heard a boom and it just exploded and there was no chance," said mobile home resident Patricia Wilmot. "There was nothing they could have done for them. The windows would not break."

Firefighters managed to get the fire under control in just a matter of minutes, and then searched the home and found the bodies.

CBS News affiliate WGNX-TV in Atlanta reports firefighters said the fire gutted the home, blew out windows and left holes in the metal roof.

The victims were Linda Joanne Cochran, her four children, her niece, her teen-age son's girlfriend and the girlfriend's baby. The names of the other victims and their ages were not immediately available.

Residents of the Modern Living Mobile Home Park, located in Acworth - about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta - say Cochran was well liked around the park and was devoted to her children. Cochran was the maintenance supervisor at the park until two weeks ago when she quit to manage a Hardees fast food restaurant.

Neighbors "kept trying to bang on the doors and the windows, trying to get them out," said Tammy Taylor, who lives nearby. "I guess by that time the smoke ventilation was so bad..."

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said the fire started in or around a clothes dryer and probably smoldered in some clothes before it spread.

Even though Converse said the park was equipped with smoke detectors, Oxendine said there was no evidence that Cochran's home had a working detector.

"We can say that either there was no smoke detector or, if there was one, it was not operational," he said after inspecting the burned-out home. "Had there been a working smoke detector...they would have awakened and had plenty of time to get out."

Firefighters found five of the bodies in a bedroom near the back door of the four-bedroom. Three others were in the front of the home.

"I can only hope and pray that they didn't wake up and realize what they were going through because it's terrible," said mobile home park owner Ed Converse.

Converse said some of the mobile homes in the park were 15-20 years old. He said he rents them for $125 to $150 a week and all are equipped with smoke detectors.

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