An early morning fire tore through a home day care killing five children and injuring one woman in Erie, Pennsylvania on Sunday. Four of the deceased children belonged to a firefighter who was fighting another fire that night just a few blocks away from the day care.
Reports say that firefighters responded to a call about a house fire at 1 am on Sunday. On arrival, firefighters found flames shooting out of every window on the first floor of the building.
Firefighters pulled several children from the burning home, which was a day care center where children could stay overnight as their parents worked, but sadly none of the children, who ranged in age from eight months to eight years, survived.
Of the five kids, four were from the same family. Luther Jones who is a volunteer firefighter at Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department lost four children in the horrific fire.
“The deputy told me he hasn’t seen fire blow out of a building like that in a long time,” Erie Bureau of Fire Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski told GoErie.com.
“Unthinkable. It’s really beyond comprehension.” Chief Joe Crotty of the Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department told TODAY.
Neighbors heard two teenagers screaming for help as they escaped from the second floor of the home and called for help.
The teenagers were able to escape with injuries by climbing onto the roof of the first floor.
The owner of the home and day care, Harris Family Daycare, also managed to escape by running through the fire but sustained serious injuries especially to her lungs according to CNN.
The homeowner’s child was among the five kids who were killed in the fire.
According to reports, investigators are still trying to determine what started the deadly fire, but they believe it started in the first floor of the house.
Investigators also discovered that the three-story home only had one smoke detector, which was located on the top floor of the house.
Harris Family Daycare passed an inspection in late December 2018, but in early January there were two notes from the state’s Department of Human Services Office of Child Development and Early Learning commenting on “ashes and cigarette or cigar butts” and electrical outlets not having the proper coverings.
Responses from the day care indicated these were taken care of.
A fund has been set up to help the family cover funeral costs.