7 adults, 3 children killed in house fire; ongoing criminal investigation

NESCOPECK, Pa. (AP) – A fire quickly tore through a home early Friday, killing seven adults and three children and horrifying a volunteer firefighter who arrived to fight the blaze only to discover the victims were his family, they say the authorities. .

A criminal investigation into the fire is underway, authorities said. The children who died in the fire were ages 5, 6 and 7, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release.

Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter. Harold Baker he told the Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre that among the 10 victims were his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.

he he told WNEP-TV that there were also 13 dogs in the house but did not say if he knew if any had survived.

The fire in Nescopeck was reported around 2:30 am. One person was found dead inside the single-family home shortly after emergency services arrived, while two other victims were found later in the morning.

Some people were able to safely escape the burning home, authorities said.

Baker said the address initially given for the call was a neighboring house, but he realized it was his family’s residence as the fire truck approached.

“When we turned the corner up here on Dewey (Street) I knew right away which house it was just by looking at the street,” Baker told Citizens’ Voice. “I was in the first engine, and when we stopped, the whole place was totally involved. We tried to get into them.”

Neighbors said they heard a loud bang or an explosion before seeing the home’s front porch quickly engulfed in flames. Some also said they heard a young man shouting in front of the house: “They are 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 delivering newspapers and three others escaped, he said.

“The kids that were there and my two kids were just visiting their aunt and uncle,” Baker told WNEP. “These were the owners of the house. They were there visiting and getting in the pool and all that.”

Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said there was a “complex criminal investigation.” Soldiers were interviewing survivors, he said.

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