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Saturday, August 6, 2022 – A fireman called to tackle an inferno discovered his family were among the 10 dead as he tackled the flames.
The fire started Friday morning, August 5, and Harold Baker arrived at the house in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, US, where he found his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives, dead.
Pennsylvania State Police has confirmed the names of six of the victims, but not yet the youngest who are understood to be children aged just five, six and seven.
The tragedy is now being treated by the authorities as suspicious with a criminal investigation launched into what sparked the fire at around 2.30am local time (6.30am GMT) on Friday morning.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Company firefighter, Harold said his kids were at their aunt and uncle’s house for a swim.
Bereaved Harold told local media: “When we turned the corner up here on Dewey [Street] I knew right away what house it was just by looking down the street.
“I was on the first engine, and when we pulled up, the whole place was fully involved. We tried to get in to them.
“The kids that were there and my two kids were just visiting their aunt and uncle.
“Those were the ones who own the house. They were there visiting and going into the pool and all that.”
Once the fire had been brought under control, police sent sniffer dogs into the destroyed building to help retrieve the bodies.
Three adults managed to escape to safety.
Initial evidence suggests flames started to roar from the building’s porch.
Victims have been identified by police as Dale Baker, 19, Star Baker, 22, David Daubert Sr, 79, Shannon Daubert, 42, Laura Daubert, 47, and Marian Slusser, 54.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote on Twitter: “Frances and I are heartbroken after seven adults and three children lost their lives in a house fire today in Luzerne County. Our prayers are with their loved ones. “Thank you to the many first responders who rushed to the scene.”