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Remains of 10 people, including 3 children, found in rubble of Pennsylvania house fire

The cause of the early morning blaze in Nescopeck, a small borough in northeastern Pennsylvania, was not immediately clear.

The remains of 10 people, including three children, were found in the rubble of a rural Pennsylvania home that was destroyed in a fire Friday, state police said.

The deceased included seven adults ranging in age from 19 to 79, two boys ages 5 and 6, and a 7-year-old girl, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The adults were identified by state police as Dale Baker, 19; Star Baker 22; David Daubert Sr., 79; Brian Daubert, 42; Shannon Daubert, 45; Laura Daubert, 47; and Marian Slusser, 54. The names of the children were not released.

One of the victims was an off-duty firefighter who was asleep in the house at the time, the Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Department said.

Harold Baker, a volunteer firefighter in the town of Nescopeck, told the Associated Press the 10 victims included his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.

His children and the other young victims were visiting their aunt and uncle’s home for swimming and other summertime fun, he said, adding that 13 dogs were also in the two-story home. He did not say if he knew whether any survived.

“All I wanted to do was go in there and get to these people, my family. That’s all that I was thinking about, getting in to them,” Baker, 57, said in a phone interview with the AP.

Baker grabbed a hose and air pack, and started pouring water on the fire, desperate to make his way inside and calling out to his son. His chief realized whose house it was, and fellow firefighters escorted Baker back to the firehouse.

Three men escaped the fire, state police said in the statement. Another was out delivering newspapers, Baker said.

Image:
A Pennsylvania State trooper and members of the Luzerne County Coroner Office stand in front of an early morning fatal fire, in Nescopeck, Pa., on Aug. 5, 2022.Jimmy May / Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP

The blaze at the two-story residence early Friday quickly roared to a strength that repelled first responders, who tried to make rescues, authorities said Friday at the scene of the tragedy.

“There wasn’t nothing we could’ve done to get in there. We tried, but we couldn’t get in,” said Baker, who’s been a firefighter for 40 years.

Asked if the investigation was criminal in nature, state police said only that detectives want to determine the origin of the fire.

First responders discovered the remains after the fire had been knocked down, authorities said.

“The residence was completely destroyed by the fire,” state police said.

The blaze was reported before 3 a.m. in Nescopeck, a borough of more than 1,600 people about 48 miles southwest of Scranton.