BLAIN, Pa. — A fire at a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania killed seven children while their mother was in a barn milking cows and their dad was taking a nap in a delivery truck, a state trooper said Wednesday.
NBC News reported that six girls, aged 11, 9, 6, 4, 2 and 7 months, and a 7-year-old boy died. One child, aged three, survived.
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WHTM-TV reported that the family were Mennonites.
Tom Pinkerton, the state trooper, said the fire erupted Tuesday night in Blain, which is located about 20 miles north of Harrisburg in Perry County.
The family's father had left the two-story home, on a working farm in dairy country, to get his truck around 10 p.m. Tuesday, Pinkerton added.
Two children, aged 2 and 3, were watching television at the time. The child who survived smelled smoke in the home and ran to the barn to alert the mother, Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton, speaking on NBC's TODAY show on Wednesday, said she tried to enter the house but was unable to get in.
"Once she was unable to make entry into the residence, she ran across the road to a neighbor's house," Pinkerton said. "Nobody answered, so she went to a second neighbor's house. Somebody there answered and at that time 911 was called."
She then ran with the child to the father's truck and banged on its windows, screaming that their home was on fire, he said. WHTM-TV reported that police said the truck was nearly a mile away.
The father was on a milk delivery run and had pulled over on his second stop, Pinkerton told TODAY. "I guess while he was waiting to perform his job, he nodded off in the truck."
By the time he returned to the home, it was fully engulfed by flames, Pinkerton said. He said earlier that the Perry County coroner ruled the children died of smoke inhalation.
No cause or origin of the fire had been determined. Fire marshals were investigating.
"It's definitely a tough scene to work right now," Pinkerton said.
NBC News reported that state police had no reason to suspect foul play.
Due to incorrect information provided by The Associated Press, this article initially stated that the incident occurred in Blaine, Pa.
NBC News, msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.