ERIE, Pa. (via WJET) — The small city of Erie was devastated by a fire that killed five children, ranging in ages from eight months to seven years old.
It was just after 1 a.m. Sunday when the 911 calls started coming in for a fire on the 1200 block of West 11 Street. The house was completely engulfed in flames when the first fire team arrived.
At the time of the fire, eight people were inside the house that also operated as a daycare.
According to fire officials, when the fire started, the kids were on the second level of the single family house. Two teenagers jumped from the roof of the house, managing to escape the fire.
Fire Chief Guy Santone said no foul play is suspected. It is possible the fire may have been caused by an electrical issue.
Santone also said his department was not informed that the house was a licensed daycare when they arrived, and he is going over the idea about making an ordinance requiring residences to make the city aware they are an active daycare facility.
According to the Erie Times News, the owner of the daycare is Elaine Harris. Harris was taken to UPMC Mercy for treatment.
Erie is a tight-knit community in so many ways, and I know we will rally to support the families of all those involved. I ask my fellow citizens to join me in praying for those dealing with this horrible tragedy.Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper
The names of the victims have yet to be released.
The Hamot Health Foundation has announced they will be redirecting Hamot Erie Gives donations to the families, and to the first responders of this tragedy. Four of the deceased are grandchildren of a longtime Hamot employee.