At least five of the 10 people killed in a northeastern Pennsylvania fire died of smoke inhalation, authorities said.
Seven adults and three children died in the early Friday after a fire broke out in a two-story house in the small town of Nescopeck, Pennsylvania. 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.
The autopsies on the victims began Saturday, the Luzerne County coroner’s office said. Examinations were completed on three women, one man and a girl, who all died of smoke inhalation, the office said in a news release Saturday afternoon.
Determining the manner of death — classifying the deaths as accidents or homicides, for example — for the victims is pending the outcome of the fire investigation, the coroner’s office said.
A preliminary investigation suggests the fire broke out on the front porch of the house around 2:30 a.m. Friday, said the county’s district attorney, Sam Sanguedolce. He said it appears that “the fire started and progressed very quickly, making it very difficult to get out.”
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Three adults made it out alive, police said.
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter Harold Baker, whose own family was trapped inside the house fire, said 14 people were staying in the house, including a few who were visiting at the time of the fire. He also said 13 dogs were in the home; their conditions have not been reported.
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 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 said.
Contributing: The Associated Press