Fire Kills Five Family Members

A Florence pastor, his wife and their three sons died today when fire swept through their rural Mississippi home. Their bodies were found when firefighters arrived during the early morning hours and found the home fully engulfed in flames. The home is located several miles southwest of Florence.

The dead were identified by church members as 41-year-old Reverend Sammy J. McDonald; his 36-year-old wife, Patricia, and their sons, 13-year-old James Lowery, 12-year-old Allen and seven-year-old Reese. Authorities say the cause of the fire hasn't been determined but an investigation is underway.

John McInnis of Richland is a deacon at McDonald's Victory Baptist Church in Florence, which has about 47 members. McInnis says McDonald had previously served as pastor at another Baptist church in the area.