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11 children killed in 2 fires in Michigan and California

Explosion levels farm home; blaze roars through apartment

A late night explosion blew apart a rural farm home in Caledonia Township, Mich., killing six young siblings who had been visiting from out of state and severely burning three other young people.

Meanwhile, a fire in Carson, Calif., roared through a two-story apartment Sunday morning, killing five children who were found in upstairs bedrooms, authorities said.

The Michigan blast Saturday leveled the two-story home and could be felt several miles away, said Shiawassee County Sheriff Jon Wilson. Foul play wasn't suspected, but the cause was under investigation.

"It's about level, right down to the foundation," Wilson said Sunday. "You would wonder how anyone could have survived."

The victims were siblings, 2 to 19 years old. The injured, ages 7 to 18, were hospitalized in critical condition Sunday in Flint, said Detective Sgt. Kathy Taylor.

The children and teens had apparently been left at the farm home alone while family members were visiting another relative, Taylor said.

Those killed included the home owner's nieces and nephews from Virginia, Taylor said. Two of their siblings and an 18-year-old family friend were hospitalized. The names and hometowns of the victims weren't immediately released.

Taylor said investigators planned to try to get into the basement of the home to try to determine the cause of the explosion.

Caledonia Township is about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

The California fire killed three girls and a boy, ages 6 to 8, who were pronounced dead at the scene, and a 10-year-old girl died at a hospital, said Los Angeles County fire Inspector Ron Haralson.

All the adults in the apartment, about 20 miles south of Los Angeles, escaped unharmed, he said.

It was not immediately clear how the fire started. Haralson said it was reported at 8:21 a.m. and was put out in less than 15 minutes.