Six children die in Romania

Six children died in their sleep in a southern Romanian village when a candle ignited a tablecloth, setting the room on fire, authorities said Friday.

The children, who ranged in age from 18 months to 12 years, were sleeping on mattresses on the floor when the fire broke out, Vasile Preda, mayor of the town of Varasti, said by telephone.

All six died of asphyxiation, he said.

None of their parents were in the house at the time. The father of two of the children, Visinel Niculae, 22, had been caring for them while the parents, including his wife, were working in Italy.

Three other children under Niculae's care were playing at a neighbor's home and escaped the blaze, Preda said.

Preda said the fire was being investigated but no charges have been filed.

The parents were expected to arrive in Romania on Saturday for their funerals, reports the AP.

I.L.

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