Front Street Fire Kills Four People

By Kerri O'Hara

July 22, 2010 Updated May 3, 2006 at 11:29 PM EDT

Firefighters are gone from the scene of a deadly fire in Binghamton Wednesday that claimed the lives of four people.

The fire broke out early Wednesday morning, killing a woman and three of her children.

Our Action News cameras captured it all, just before 4am.

The fast moving fire destroyed one house, and damaged three neighboring homes -- one of them converted into a church.

While the fire killed a woman and three of her children, her husband and another child were able to escape.

They survived by jumping from a second floor window.

As night turned to day, emergency crews spent hours combing through the rubble.

One by one, the four victims were brought out.

The fire started at a home at 233 Front Street, where all four victims died.

The victims are 34-year-old Laurie Ray and three of her children: Kenny, Alicia and Christy Ray, ages 16, 15 and 10.

The husband and father, Michael Ray, age 56, is in fair condition tonight at Wilson Hospital.

17-year-old daughter Courtney was treated and released.

Firefighters were working at the scene for about 11 hours.

The Binghamton Fire Department says when they arrived at the scene the entire house was engulfed.

Michael Ray and his daughter, Courtney, had already jumped to safety.

But, Laurie Ray and their three other children were trapped inside.

Firefighters couldn't get to them.

"The initial building was so well involved in fire it was just to hot, even 40 feet away on the sidewalk. You couldn't get any closer," says Chief Clifford Colgan of the Binghamton Fire Department.

Once the fires were under control, emergency crews had to search the rubble for four bodies.

All four were located, and brought out.

"It's messy, it's slippery, there's a lot of dangerous stuff in there. We're trying to be careful so we don't disturb anything. And, it's not comfortable to have to take a body out," says Lt. Richard Tinder of the Binghamton Fire Department.

Neighbors were kept away, but they kept a close watch throughout the night and day.

"I've known their kids since they were little. They used to pick flowers in my garden and he'd bring them back and say 'they won't do it again'. We were all very close," says neighbor Ricky Smith.

As for what caused this tragedy, the Binghamton Fire Department is investigating.

Right now, they don't know how the fire started.

Neighbors say they heard explosions.

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