10 family members died due to fire in the house, investigation continues

Ten members of the family of a Pennsylvania firefighter died early this morning in a home fire that a witness described as “severe.”

Criminal investigation is going on.

Volunteer Fire Company firefighter Harold Baker was on the first engine to reach his relatives’ burning home shortly before 3 a.m. Monday. He thought he was going to the neighbor’s address.

“When we turned the corner here on Dewey (St.) I knew immediately which house it was,” Baker told the Associated Press.

The deadly fire broke out in the eastern borough of Nescope, less than 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Baker said the dead included three children and seven adults, including his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, brother-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives. His children were staying overnight in the house, which is owned by his aunt and uncle and has a pool. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 79.

There were also a dozen dogs in the house, Baker said, but he couldn’t speak to their condition.

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Three people survived after fleeing a burning home at 733, Pennsylvania’s time ladder said First St. investigators based in Shikanini, Pa., have reportedly launched a “complex criminal investigation.”

Firefighters from two counties respond to a burning two-story house that is irreparable.

Neighbor Bernie Snedeker told the Times leader, “I’ve never seen anything burn so intensely.”

He said the flames reached the tops of the surrounding trees.

Mike Swank, who lives across the street from the burnt house, told the AP that he saw two people standing outside the house “in different states of hysteria” in the face of the tragedy. One of those people was on a cellphone and “the other guy was out in the street and he was just going around in circles.”

The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office joined police K-9 patrols in their rescue and recovery efforts. The post-mortem will be done on Saturday.

news with wire services

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