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Family of ten killed in US house fire

Fire has torn quickly through a house in a Pennsylvania suburb, killing seven adults and three children and horrifying a volunteer firefighter who arrived to battle the blaze only to discover the victims were his family.

House Fire Pennsylvania Ten people from one family have been killed in a house fire in suburban Pennsylvania.
August 6, 2022
By AAP
6 August 2022

Fire has torn quickly through a house in a Pennsylvania suburb, killing seven adults and three children and horrifying a volunteer firefighter who arrived to battle the blaze only to discover the victims were his family.

A criminal investigation into the fire is underway, authorities said. The children who died were ages five, six and seven, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release on Friday.

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

A volunteer firefighter was called out to a job where ten people died, only to discover that the victims were his own family. (Peter Byrne/PA)

The fire was reported about 2.30am. One person was found dead inside the single-family home shortly after emergency responders arrived, while two other victims were found later in the morning.

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

Baker said the address initially given for the call was a neighbouring home, but that he realised 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 what house it was just by looking down the street,” Baker told the Citizens’ Voice. 

“I was on the first engine, and when we pulled up, the whole place was fully involved. We tried to get in to them.”

Neighbours reported hearing a loud popping sound or explosion before seeing the front porch of the home rapidly consumed by flames. Some also reported hearing a young man screaming in front of the home, “They’re all dead.”

Baker, who was relieved of his firefighting duties because of his relationship to the victims, said 14 people were living in the home. One of them was out delivering newspapers, and three others escaped, he said.

“It’s a complex criminal investigation with multiple fatalities,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said. Troopers were interviewing survivors, he said.

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