Lake Wales Tragedy: Family, friends mourning loss of family of three killed in house fire

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – A couple and their 6-year-old great-grandson died following a house fire in Lake Wales early Sunday morning. Monday morning family and friends were sifting through ash and debris for anything that was left.

The victims have been identified as 75-year-old Carolyn Ruff, 82- year-old Walter Ruff, and their 6-year-old great-grandson Liam McLemore. Walter Ruff was found deceased inside the home. Carolyn and Liam died at the hospital.

“This is so sad, such a tragedy,” said Rhonda Massey, a neighbor. “They were so nice. I woke up this morning and prayed for their family. I can’t even imagine what they are going through.”

The fire happened on the 5300 block of Fairmont Road overnight Saturday. Firefighters say the 1200-square-foot home was fully involved when crews arrived.  According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Liam was staying at his great grandparent’s house for the summer.

PCSO detectives and the State Fire Marshal are investigating. “It’s an ongoing death investigation, and we don’t suspect any suspicious in nature,” said Donna Wood, Public Information Officer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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