An early morning fire in Pennsylvania at a residential building housing a daycare centre killed five children and sent the owner to the hospital, authorities said.
The fire was reported in Erie, a northwest lake town, at about 1.15am on Sunday, Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.
At least five children were killed and two people injured in the blaze that ripped through the center in Erie early Sunday, authorities say
Four of the five children killed were siblings, other family members told local media.
“I’m just so hurt my babies are gone,” the children’s mother, Shevona Overton, told Erie News Now. “I love them dearly. I just hurt inside knowing that my kids were fighting and hurting in that fire. Every minute, I feel the same pain.”
Overton identified the children, two boys and two girls, as La’Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; and Jaydan Augustyniak, 9 months.
The chief fire inspector, John Widomski said the homeowner was injured alongside a neighbor who tried to enter the burning home to rescue victims. Though police detectives trained in fire investigations are working to determine the cause of the fire, however Widomski said it appeared to have started from living room area on the first floor.
Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone said firefighters arrived on the scene about 25 minutes later and found “heavy fire coming out of all the windows on the first floor, and reports were in that there were children trapped on the second floor.
“So firefighters, obviously, they started attacking the fire, but another group of firefighters laddered the side of the building and got up into the bedrooms,” Santone told local ABC News affiliate Jet24.
“We were able to rescue or pull out the five younger children, but unfortunately they all passed away. The lady that lived there ran through the fire to get outside. She had burned her lungs and probably didn’t realize that. And she drove herself to the hospital, and on the way to the hospital, she crashed her car.”
The woman identified as Elaine Harris was flown to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for treatment, authorities said. Harris’ two sons, also suffered minor injuries after jumping from upper floor windows in the two story wood-frame house.