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Fayetteville, West Virginia became home to a great mystery on Christmas Eve in 1945. George and Jeanie Sodder celebrated the holiday season with 9 of their children – a tenth (Joe) was away serving in the military. George went to bed first that evening – followed by his sons John (23 years old) and George Jr. (16). Meanwhile, Maurice (14), Martha (12), Louis (10), Jennie (8) and Betty (6) begged their mother to allow them to stay up a little longer and play with the toys their sister Marian (17) had bought for them that day. Their mother consented, but took Sylvia (3) up to bed with her.
About a half hour later, smoke started to pour into her bedroom, and being semi-awake already, Jeanie was the first to notice. She opened the door and was horrified to find flames engulfing the next room. She called for her husband to wake up and her daughter Marian grabbed little Sylvia and took off outside. She then called to the attic where her children were thought to be sleeping – her two oldest sons ran down. George ran outside barefoot into the snow and realized five of his children were apparently still in the house