NESCOPECK, Pennsylvania — A fire quickly tore through a Pennsylvania home in the wee hours of Friday, killing seven adults and three children and horrifying a volunteer firefighter who arrived to battle the blaze only to discover the victims were his family, the authorities said.
A criminal investigation into the fire is underway, authorities said. The children who died in the fire were ages 5, 6 and 7, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release.
Firefighter Harold Baker, Volunteer Nescopeck Fire Co., told the Citizens’ Voice Wilkes-Barre newspaper that his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other victims were included. in the 10 victims. other relatives.
The fire in Nescopeck was reported around 2:30 a.m. One person was found dead inside the single-family home shortly after emergency responders arrived, and two other victims were found later in the morning.
Several people were able to safely flee the burning home, authorities said.
Baker said the address initially given to the call was a house nearby, but he realized it was his family’s residence as the fire truck approached.
“When we turned the corner up here on Dewey (Street) I knew right away which house it was just by looking down the street,” Baker told Citizen Voice. “I was on the first engine, and when we pulled up, the whole place was completely involved. We tried to get into them.”
Neighbors reported hearing a loud popping or explosion sound before seeing the home’s front porch quickly engulfed in flames. Some also reported hearing a young man screaming in front of the house, “They’re all dead.”
Baker, who was relieved of his firefighting duties because of his relationship with the victims, said 14 people lived in the home. One of them was out delivering newspapers, and three others escaped, he said.
“It’s a complex criminal investigation with multiple deaths,” said Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman. Soldiers were interviewing survivors, he said.
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