A family of 6 died in a late-night fire in eastern Pennsylvania as flames engulfed their home as the slept.
The tragedy took place in Pottsville, claiming the lives of 4 children and 2 adults. The fire broke out in the 200 block of Pierce Street, with the home becoming overcome with flames and smoke.
The 6 who died in the fire were identified as 30-year-old Eric Brown and his 4 children: Joy, 8, Jeremiah, 7, Emily 3, and Elijah, 2,. Brown’s 26-year-old sister-in-law, Christina Thomas, was also killed in the fire.
The only adult to survive the blaze was the children’s mother, who was in another house across the street doing laundry.
Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March said this was the worst fire he had ever seen, and was particularly hard on his firefighters.
“We’ve had nothing like this before,” March said. “A lot of the younger guys haven’t had a fire death. A lot of the guys are affected by this, especially the kids.”
Police were initially called to the home for a disturbance, and neighbors who tried to enter the home could not access it.
“When the police got here, and the neighbors, they all tried to get in the back of the building,” March said. “One of our police officers tried to get into the basement door in the front. He got in so far, but there was flames were already coming down the stairs from the second floor down to the first.”
Though firefighters began to put water on the blaze quickly, the entire house was in flames within minutes.
“The neighbors smelled smoke, including the mother, and they came out to see what was going on, and they just saw it, you know, heavily involved in the back of the building, a lot of smoke coming out the front,” March said.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
All 6 people who died were found in bedrooms. Firefighters believe they were all sleeping when the fire broke out.