A rural Pennsylvania volunteer firefighter who responded to a call discovered his own family, including his children and grandchildren, trapped in a devastating house fire that destroyed the home and killed several people.
Nescdeck Volunteer Fire Co. Fireman Harold Baker described The voice of the citizens Wilkes-Barre newspaper, his horror revealed that the fire he was responding to had included members of his own family. Baker told the newspaper that the 10 victims of the fire are all related to him and he expects their remains to be recovered soon.
The fire broke out after 2:30 a.m. Friday in the small county of fewer than 2,000 people in eastern Pennsylvania Voice reported. It’s not clear who owned the house and who lived there, but family members told the newspaper that a gathering was being held at the house and children were staying overnight.
Baker described being in the first machine to respond and how the crew initially received his neighbor’s address, but soon found the fire was at his family members’ address.
When he stopped at the house, he noted how serious the fire was and how firefighters were trying to get in to save the residents, the newspaper said.
“We tried front and back,” Baker said Voice. “There was no way to get in there.”
Describing his feeling of helplessness to the newspaper, Baker said: “I couldn’t get in to save her.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman told the newspaper that three bodies have been removed and expects others to be executed once they are identified.
Authorities told WBRE-TV that seven adults and three children died in the fire, with victims ranging in age from 5 to 79 years old. Three other adults made it out of the fire.
“I’ve never seen anything burn so intensely,” said Bernie Snedeker, who lives in the neighborhood, while describing the fire time leader. He said the flames reached the tops of tall trees around the house.
Pennsylvania State Police told the station they were investigating the fire, which they described as “complex.” Neighbors told local media they heard loud bangs.
Baker told ABC affiliate WNEP that he had family ties to all 14 people who lived in the home and had not seen or heard from 10 of them.
“I also lost my son, daughter, grandson, two other grandchildren, father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law there. All lost,” he said.
Baker told the station that some family members were visiting the home, which also housed 13 dogs. In addition to the three who escaped, another had worked a newspaper route, Baker said.
news week has reached out to the Pennsylvania State Police for comment.