A 6-year-old girl who had escaped a house fire early Tuesday ran back inside to find her mother, not realizing the woman had jumped to safety from a second-floor window, police said.
The child never made it back out alive. Firefighters found the body of Da-Onah Watts under a bed on the second floor of the home, said Mayor Thomas F. Acri.
Da-Onah and an older cousin had been asleep on the first floor of the home when they awoke to flames about 12:30 a.m. and ran from the house, said Steelton Police Chief Kenneth Lenker.
The older girl, Nesha Barely, lost her grip on Da-Onah as they escaped, Lenker said. She didn’t realize the child had run back inside until it was too late.
A neighbor summoned help, but the heat and flames were too intense for police or firefighters to get inside. The home was destroyed. Da-Onah’s mother, Myiaa Smith, 26, survived.
A phone message seeking comment from the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday morning was not immediately returned. Steelton, just outside Harrisburg, has about 5,700 residents.
“This little kid played in the neighborhood. We waved at her,” Lenker said. “Everybody knew her. It’s a tragedy.”