Muhlenberg County

Emil Moffatt

The Library of Congress has unveiled the list of this year’s 25 additions to the National Recording Registry.

Among the recordings – the Everly Brothers 1960 hit “Cathy’s Clown”, which was recorded at the RCA “Studio B” in Nashville.

Earlier this year, Muhlenberg County held a celebration of life for Phil Everly, who died January 3rd.  Everly and his brother Don held a series of charity concerts in their family’s hometown in Western Kentucky in the 1980s and 1990s.    

Muhlenberg Community Hospital

A new multi-year agreement means Owensboro Health will be taking over operations at Muhlenberg Community Hospital.  The three-year contract officially takes effect May 1st, but hospital officials say the transition process has already begun.  Owensboro Health President and CEO Philip Patterson says his company was looking for a “new and emerging” partner. 

“We, as Owensboro Health are not looking to own all the hospitals and health networks of western Kentucky,” said Patterson "We’re looking for those established networks that will allow us to partner and bring the best and highest-quality of care to western Kentucky." 

Patterson says residents in Muhlenberg County won’t notice any drastic, immediate changes. 

“Our hope is that they will not see any significant change when it comes to the staffing or the look of Muhlenberg Community Hospital, unless it’s to the betterment of the hospital itself,” said Patterson.

Ed Heath, who has been with Owensboro Health since 2008, has been named the CEO of Muhlenberg Community Hospital. He’ll oversee the hospital’s 450 employees. 

Lisa Autry

For the first time since a house fire killed his wife and eight of his nine children, Chad Watson shared his story Sunday, just days after leaving the hospital and returning home to Muhlenberg County. 

A packed auditorium at Muhlenberg County High School sang worship songs and joined in prayer, but when Chad Watson took the stage, you could hear the proverbial pin drop. 

With his burned hands still bandaged, Watson said as the father of nine healthy and vibrant children, he considered himself the most blessed man on earth.

"That night as Kylie and I waited for an ambulance to come, all I could think of was 'It's being taken away,' and the only one who can stop it is allowing it to happen," Watson said passionately.

He choked back tears, but otherwise the preacher by trade was right at home as he read scripture and spoke of his unwavering faith in God in the most trying time.

“He is the one, no matter what happens, no matter what we think He should have done, no matter what we think He could have done, no matter what we think of His plan, He is the only one that has any true comfort to offer," Watson told the audience.

A father and daughter who were injured in a tragic house fire that killed nine other family members returned home Saturday to a community parade.

Chad and 11 year old Kylie Watson arrived in Greenville to signs, balloons and cheers from well-wishers. The parade ended at Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, where there was a celebration for their return.

Kylie and her father were injured on January 30 when some type of combustible material fell against a baseboard heater in a bedroom. the blaze killed La Rae "Nikki" Watson and eight of her children aged 4 to 15.

Muhlenberg County Fire Survivors Improving

Feb 10, 2014

The conditions of a father and daughter who were the only survivors in a Muhlenberg County house fire that killed nine family members have been upgraded.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials said Monday that 36-year-old Chad Watson and his 11-year-old daughter, Kylie, are both in stable condition. Hospital spokesman Craig Boerner said the two had been in critical but stable condition since they arrived on Jan. 30 but were upgraded over the weekend.

Police say the fire started when a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom overnight in the home in the community of Depoy near Greenville, Ky. The blaze killed La Rae "Nikki" Watson and eight of her children, ages 4 to 15.

The funeral for the nine family members was held Saturday.

Lisa Autry

Several hundred mourners filed into Muhlenberg County High School Saturday to remember a mother and her eight children who died in a house fire. 

Among them was Charlotte Groves, who had a firsthand account of the tragedy.

“I lived next door to them, I’m the one who called 911,” she said.

Charlotte Groves was awakened in the middle of the night on January 30 to screams coming from her neighbor’s home engulfed in flames.  Chad Watson and his 11-year-old daughter Kylie escaped the burning home, but his wife Larae and his eight other children did not.

“He kept it together for his daughter.  He kept saying 'God is a good God, they're in a better place.'  He was remarkable,” said Groves.  “He tried to go back in there three times but he told us the fire was so hot every time he tried, he got burnt.”

Inside Muhlenberg County High School, nine closed white caskets were lined up on the stage of a packed auditorium.  Propped up on easels behind the caskets were large pictures of each family member: 36-year-old LaRae Watson, and her children, 15-year-old Madison; 14-year-old Kaitlyn; 13-year old Morgan; 9-year old Emily; 8-year-old Samuel; 6-year-old Raegan; and 4-year-old twins Mark and Nathaniel.

“In the 27 years I’ve been in the ministry, I’ve never had anything that has devastated me and touched me anymore than this,” said Tim Burden.

A Muhlenberg County town is preparing to bury a mother and eight of her children who died in a house fire.

Members of the Watson family died Jan. 30 when police say a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom on a sub-freezing night in the community of Depoy near Greenville, Ky.

Killed were 35-year-old LaRae "Nikki" Watson, 15-year-old Madison Watson, 14-year-old Kaitlyn Watson, 13-year-old Morgan Watson, 9-year-old Emily Watson, 8-year-old Samuel Watson, 6-year-old Raegan Watson and 4-year-old twin brothers Mark and Nathaniel Watson.

The father, 36-year-old Chad Watson, and 11-year-old Kylie Watson, escaped the blaze and were at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. The funeral service is being held at the Muhlenberg County High School's west campus Saturday afternoon.

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Friday was a solemn day in the Muhlenberg County School System. Classmates mourned the loss of eight children a day after they died in an early morning fire in the community of Depoy.

Superintendent Randy McCarty spent much of the day at Longest Elementary School, where two of the Watson children attended.

"Elementary kids have a hard time expressing themselves," said McCarty.  "The kids know what's going on, they know their classmate has died, and now we're trying to find a way to let them express themselves, whether it's through art or writing poetry or songs."

Two other Watson children were students at Muhlenberg County High School's East Campus.

While McCarty has only been on the job as a superintendent a short while, he says it's the worst tragedy he's dealt with in education.

"I've been a principal at a high school and I've seen young people killed in car wrecks, but when you have eight kids die from age five to 14, that's different," McCarty added.

McCarty says grief counselors will be on hand for as long as needed.

Meanwhile, a candlelight prayer service will be held Friday at 7 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Central City where the Watson family attended.

A girl who escaped a house fire in Muhlenberg County that killed her mother and eight siblings is communicating with her hospital nurses.

Pastor Tim Burden said Friday that 11-year-old Kylie Watson has written "I'm hungry" on a dry erase board. Burden says Kylie's father, Chad Watson, is also making progress at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Eight of Chad Watson's children and his wife, Nikki, died in a house fire in Depoy early Thursday morning. Investigators say a combustible material made contact with a baseboard heater.

Burden, a close friend of the family and the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, says the church is holding a candlelight vigil Friday evening.

The father and daughter were both listed in critical but stable condition Friday morning.

The state medical examiner late Friday said the nine people who perished in Thursday's fire died of smoke inhalation.

Nine family members are dead and a community is in shock following a Thursday morning house fire in Muhlenberg County.

Investigators with the state fire marshal's office and Kentucky State Police say the fire was accidental and caused by combustible materials coming into contact with an electric baseboard heater. The fire at the home in Depoy was first reported shortly after  2 a.m.

The blaze took the lives of 36-year-old mother LaRae Watson, and eight of her children: 15-year-old Madison; 14-year-old Kaitlyn; 13-year old Morgan; 9-year old Emily; 8-year-old Samuel; 6-year-old Reagan; and 4-year-old twin brothers Mark and Nathaniel.

“Eight of the victims were located together in a room close to the front of the house," Kentucky State Police spokesman Stu Recke told reporters. "The other victim—the ninth victim—was located approximately ten to 15 feet away from them.”

Two family members survived the fire and were transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The father—36-year-old Chad Watson—was listed in critical but stable condition. His daughter—11-year-old Kylie Watson—was listed in stable condition.

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