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Nine people die in Mississippi apartment blaze

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Relatives and firefighters at the scene of the fire

Nine people have been killed in a fire at an apartment block in the US state of Mississippi, say officials.

At least six children were among the dead, state fire marshal Mike Chaney told the Associated Press news agency.

The blaze was reported to have broken out before dawn at the building in Starkville, Oktibbeha County.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, in a two-storey block containing eight apartments, not far from Mississippi State University.

The deaths were confirmed by County Coroner Michael Hunt.

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Fire chief Rodger Mann said it would take time to establish more information about the fire and its victims.

"When a fatality is involved, things move a lot slower," he said.

An eyewitness told the Commercial Dispatch newspaper that children aged four and three as well as a young baby were feared dead.

Resident were reported to have been kept out of the building for several hours.



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