Seven adults and three children were killed in a fire that destroyed a two-story house early Friday morning, officials in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, said.
Firefighters and other emergency responders were sent to the scene in the Nescopeck borough just after 2:30 a.m. Friday and found the house ablaze with people trapped inside, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said.
“Firefighters attempted courageous efforts to make entry to the house in the rear, but were pushed back from extensive flames and heat,” Felsman said.
The children killed in the fire were two boys, ages 5 and 6, and a 7-year-old girl, according Pennsylvania State Police. The adult victims ranged in age from 19 to 79.
Three adults made it out alive, police said.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter Harold Baker told local news outlets that he was one of the first responders at the house, and quickly realized it belonged to his family members.
“I also lost my son, my daughter, grandson, two other grandkids in there, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. All lost,” Baker told ABC affiliate WNEP.
“I couldn’t get in there to save them. That is the biggest thing that has been on me. I couldn’t get in there to save them,” Baker said.
Baker said 14 people were staying in the house, including a few who were visiting at the time of the fire. He also said 13 dogs were in the home; their conditions have not been reported.
One of the victims, 19-year-old Dale Baker, was also a firefighter with the company, said Heidi Knorr, the fire company’s secretary.
“He was such a fun loving soul,” she told The Associated Press. “He just loved life.”
Felsman said the State Police is leading an investigation into the cause of the fire. According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, a preliminary investigation suggests the fire broke out on the front porch.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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