A Pennsylvania firefighter responded to a fire early Friday morning to find his family trapped inside a burning home. Seven adults and three children died despite his best efforts to save them.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter Harold Baker was one of the emergency responders dispatched to a two-story home in Nescopeck Township at 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Baker tried in vain to put out the flames, calling out his son’s name. Fellow firefighters tried to enter the home but were “repelled by the heavy flames and heat,” said Lt. Derek Felsman of the Pennsylvania State Police.
“There was nothing we could have done to get there. We tried, but we couldn’t get in,” Baker, 57, a 40-year firefighting veteran, told The Associated Press.
Baker said the 10 victims included his son, daughter, son-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.
“All is lost,” Baker told the ABC affiliate WNEP.
Two boys, ages 5 and 6, and a 7-year-old girl died in the fire, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The adult victims ranged in age from 19 to 79.
Three adults escaped from it alive, police said.
Baker said 14 people were staying at the home, including several who were visiting at the time of the fire. He also said there were 13 dogs in the house; their condition has not been reported.
“All I wanted to do was go in there and reach these people, my family. That’s all I thought about going into them,” Baker said.
One of the victims, Baker’s son, Dale Baker, 19, was also a firefighter with the company, said fire company secretary Heidi Knorr. He followed both his parents into the firefighting.
“He was such a fun loving soul,” Knorr said. “He just loved life.”
State Police are investigating the cause of the fire, Felsman said. According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started on the front porch.
Nescopeck is a small town on the Susquehanna River, about 20 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre. The house was located on a residential street with mostly single-family homes.
Contributed by: The Associated Press.