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Father who survived fire speaks to crowd

GREENVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A western Kentucky man who lost his wife and eight children in a blaze last month says his faith in God is still strong.

Chad Watson made some of his first public comments since the fire on Jan. 30 killed his wife, La Rae "Nikki" Watson, and eight of their children. Officials have said some type of combustible material fell against a baseboard heater in a bedroom. One child, 11-year-old Kylie Watson, survived.

The father and daughter were hospitalized in Nashville, but returned home on Feb. 16.

Media reported that Chad Watson told a crowd in Greenville who gathered Sunday for a Celebration of Life service that he wants people to remember how his family lived, not how they died.

He says they lived with a devout faith in Jesus Christ.

"I was keenly aware that my kids were gifts from the kingdom of God," he said. "God has written my story. I wouldn't have written it this way, but when the only one who can stop it is the one making it happen, where do I go? I still go to the Lord."

While his message focused on God, he also talked about the night of the fire.

"That night, I felt it all taken away in a moment, ripped out of my hands. I thought they're being taken home and the only one who can stop it is allowing it to happen," he said to a hushed crowd. "That night, running around a neighbor's living room, chasing my daughter as we saw the flesh dripping from our hands. All I could think of was, 'Who else am I going to turn to?'"

He also thanked the churches, businesses and others in the community who have supported the family since the fire.

"You have softened our sorrow, bore our burden and eased our pain," he said.

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