Three children and seven adults were killed as a blazing fire raged in a Pennsylvania home on Friday morning. A local firefighter is related to many of the victims.
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) said in a release that on 2:42 a.m. one of its officers arrived at a "house fire with entrapment" at a two story home in Nescopeck, a small town a little more than 100 miles from Philadelphia.
The PSP added that a total of 10 people were found dead inside of the home "including three juveniles." Three additional adults were able to escape the home and survive. The Luzerne County Coroner's Office helped at the scene along with PSP K9 units.
"The residence was completely destroyed by the fire," the PSP said, adding that "the investigation is ongoing."
The victims have been identified as Dale Baker, 19, Star Baker, 22, David Daubert Sr., 79, Brian Daubert, 42, Shannon Daubert, 45, Laura Daubert, 47, and Marian Slusser, 54.
The names of the children who died have not been released; however, the PSP said they were 5, 6, and 7.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter Harold Baker told local ABC news affiliate WNEP that his son and daughter, Dale and Star, died in the fire. He also lost his father-in-law, and sister-in-law. The children who died were his grandchildren. Thirteen dogs were also inside of the home.
"All lost," Harold said. "The kids that were there and my two kids were just visiting their aunt and uncle. Those were the ones who own the house. They were there visiting and going into the pool and all that."
Recalling the moment he found out his relatives' home was in flames, Harold told The New York Times he woke up to pager alerts about a fire with 10 people entrapped. He quickly went to the fire station and as they headed toward the house, he realized they were given the wrong address, and that his brother-in-law's home was actually the one on fire.
"I tried to get in as fast as I can," he told The TImes. "I tried three times, and then they realized whose house it was and why I was trying to go in there, and they yanked me off. They said, 'No, you got to get the hell out of here.' "
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His son Dale, who was a volunteer firefighter, was saluted with a flag over his body after he was found. "They took him out as a fallen firefighter," Harold, who lost eight relatives in the fire, said of his son.
His daughter Star, was supposed to get married in 2023.
Michael Swank, who lives across the street, told The Times he saw flames coming from the porch after hearing popping sounds that he initially thought were gunshots.
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"I knew the Fire Department was not going to make it in time. Boy, it was just a horrendous fire," he said, stating that the flames went from the porch to the upstairs of the home. "It was an inferno. God bless those children that were in there. They didn't have a prayer."
PSP Lt. Derek Felsman said that a "complex criminal investigation" is being conducted, per WJAC. Authorities have also been speaking with those who made it out alive.
Robin Massina, the daughter of the mayor of Nescopeck, has started a GoFundMe for donations. It has raised nearly $5,000 of its $10,000 goal.