NESCOPECK, PA – A fire quickly tore through a Pennsylvania home in the early hours of Friday, killing seven adults and three children, and a volunteer firefighter arrived to fight the blaze only to find out his family was dead, officials said.
The fire is under criminal investigation, officials said. The children, ages 5, 6 and 7, died in the fire, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter Harold Baker told the Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre that the 10 victims include his son, daughter, son-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.
The fire in Nescopeck was reported at around 2.30am, one person was found dead shortly after the arrival of paramedics and two more victims were found later in the morning.
Some people were able to escape the burning home safely, officials said.
Baker said the address initially listed as a neighbor’s house was called, but he realized it was his family’s residence when the fire engine approached.
“When we turned the corner here on Dewey (Street), I immediately knew what kind of house it was just by looking down the street,” Baker told Citizens’ Voice. “I was on the first engine, and when we pulled up, the whole place was completely involved. We were trying to get into them.”
Neighbors reported hearing a loud pop or explosion before seeing the home’s front porch quickly engulfed in flames. Some also reported hearing a young man in front of the house screaming, “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 carrying newspapers while the others ran away, he said.
“This is a complex criminal investigation with a lot of casualties,” said Lt. Derek Felsman of the Pennsylvania State Police. The soldiers interviewed the survivors, he said.
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