CHESTER, Ill. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to setting a house fire last year in Percy that killed four children has been sentenced to 53 years in prison.

34-year-old Derrick Twardoski was sentenced Friday — two months after he and Randolph County prosecutors reached an agreement that called for him to plead guilty to one of the four counts of first-degree murder.

Authorities say Twardoski set the fire in May 2013. Four children — 5-year-old twins and a 9- and 12-year-old were killed. They were sleeping upstairs.

The victims’ parents and a brother and cousin who were sleeping downstairs or in the basement escaped. Fire and heavy smoke prevented them from reaching the other children.

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