A Pennsylvania firefighter responded to a fire early Friday morning to discover a house ablaze 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 house in the Nescopeck borough just after 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Baker futilely tried to douse the blaze while he called out the name of his son. Fellow firefighters tried to enter the house, but were “pushed back from extensive flames and heat,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said.
“There wasn’t nothing we could’ve 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 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 made it out alive, police said.
Baker 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.
“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.
One of the victims, Baker’s son, 19-year-old Dale Baker, was also a firefighter with the company, said Heidi Knorr, the fire company’s secretary. He followed both his parents into firefighting.
“He was such a fun loving soul,” Knorr said. “He just loved life.”
Felsman said the State Police is leading an investigation into the cause of the fire. According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, a preliminary investigation suggests the fire broke out 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 of largely owner-occupied, single family homes.
Contributing: The Associated Press