A Pennsylvania firefighter responded to a fire early Friday morning to find a house burning with his family trapped inside. Seven adults and three children were killed despite his best efforts to save them.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. Firefighter Harold Baker was one of the emergency responders dispatched to the two-story home in the Nescopeck neighborhood just after 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Baker tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire while shouting his son’s name. Other firefighters tried to enter the house but were “pushed back by extensive flames and heat,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said.
“There was nothing we could have done to get in there. We tried, but we couldn’t get in,” Baker, 57, a 40-year firefighting veteran, told The Associated Press.
Baker said the 10 victims included his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.
“All lost,” Baker told the ABC affiliate WNEP.
The children killed in the fire were two boys, ages 5 and 6, and a 7-year-old girl, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The adult victims ranged in age from 19 to 79.
Three adults got out alive, the police say.
Baker said 14 people were staying at the house, including a few who were visiting at the time of the fire. He also said there were 13 dogs in the home; their relationship has not been reported.
“All I wanted to do was go in there and get to these people, my family. That’s all I was thinking about, getting to them,” Baker said.
One of the victims, Baker’s son, 19-year-old Dale Baker, was also a firefighter at the company, said Heidi Knorr, fire company secretary. He followed both his parents in firefighting.
“He was such a fun loving soul,” Knorr said. “He just loved life.”
Felsman said state police are leading an investigation into the cause of the fire. According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started on the front porch.
Nescopeck is a small town on the Susquehanna River, about 20 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre. The house was on a residential street with mostly owner-occupied, single-family houses.
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