A Pennsylvania firefighter responded to a blaze early Friday morning to discover a house on fire 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 sent to the two-story home in the borough of Nescopeck just after 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Baker tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire by shouting his son’s name. Other firefighters attempted to enter the home, but were “pushed back by the flames and heat,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said.
“There was nothing we could have done to get into this. We tried, but we couldn’t get in,” Baker, 57, a firefighter for 40 years, 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 is lost,” Baker told 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 were between 19 and 79 years old.
Three adults made it out alive, police said.
Baker said 14 people were staying at the house, including a few who were visiting at the time of the fire. He also said 13 dogs were at home; their conditions were not reported.
“All I wanted to do was go out there and join those people, my family. That’s all I was thinking about, getting in touch with them,” Baker said.
One of the victims, Baker’s son Dale Baker, 19, was also a company firefighter, said Heidi Knorr, secretary of the fire company. He followed both his parents in fighting the fires.
“He was such a fun soul,” Knorr said. “He just loved life.”
Felsman said state police are investigating the cause of the fire. According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, a preliminary investigation suggests the fire started on the porch.
Nescopeck is a small town on the Susquehanna River, about 20 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre. The house was on a residential street of largely owner-occupied single-family homes.
Contributor: The Associated Press