A fire at an Erie, PA daycare center killed five children and injured one adult. Harris Family Daycare had been operating out of the single-family house for about 20 years before fire broke out just after 1 a.m on August 11 killing five children who ranged in age from 8 months old to 8 years old.
Four of the children who died were siblings whose parents worked overnight shifts. The mother of the other child who perished was the daycare owner, who was injured. Two teenagers who escaped from second-story windows shouted that there were babies inside. A neighbor who rushed into the burning house to try to save the children was also injured.
The only smoke detector in the house was found in the attic. Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone told CNN that the proper amount of smoke detectors would have saved the lives of most if not all of the children.
“This is a tragedy,” Attorney Fred Pritzker, whose firm Pritzker Hageman represents people who have been burned and injured in accidents and families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. “As these families are grieving, an investigation into the cause of the fire will begin and there will be some difficult answers to a number of questions. We already know that there weren’t enough smoke detectors according to Pennsylvania code. But investigators will also be asking: Was a defective appliance involved? Was an electrical socket overloaded? Were flammable materials stored improperly? Were discarded smoking materials involved? And was the fire intentionally set?”
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