A fire at a daycare centre in the US state of Pennsylvania has killed at least five children, including four siblings, officials said.
The incident took place early Sunday in Erie, a lakeside town in northern Pennsylvania. According to Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department, eight people were in the three-storey single-family house when the fire broke out. The home also operated as a daycare, according to fire officials.
Santone said the victims were aged from eight months to seven years old, adding that the homeowner was injured, along with a neighbour who tried to enter the burning home to rescue victims.
Four of the victims were siblings who were being cared for at the daycare. Their mother worked the night shift. The homeowner’s child was also killed, the police chief said.
Eire Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski said that the fire appeared to have started in the living room area on the first floor, Xinhua news agency reported.
Two fire inspectors and three Erie police detectives trained in fire investigations were working to determine the cause of the blaze.
Santone said only one smoke detector was found in the house. “If there were the proper amount of smoke detectors in this structure, then most, if not all, would have survived,” he added.
“I was just down there, there’s flowers everywhere,” Santone said about a memorial at the scene. “Nobody likes to see this, especially when it’s kids.”
The daycare centre was certified by local authorities until March 2020, The Erie Times-News reported. Erie has a population of about 100,000 and is the fourth largest city in the state.