Officials wrote on Facebook that firefighters responding to a structure fire after 1 a.m. found people trapped in a home in Erie, located in western Pennsylvania.
“Our prayers go out to the families involved in this tragic fire, to the neighbors, and to our firefighters,” the city wrote.
Four of the five children were siblings, said their grandmother, Valerie Lockett-Slupski.
Big question to the city here, what happened to the working fire alarm system ?
Did it activate? Was this a direct connect? It appears from the damage that the fire
was intense especially when you have fire related deaths. Better check the fire code… https://t.co/RNLLAkSZBK
— Gene (@gene1416) August 11, 2019
Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department told The Associated Press that the five young victims were between 8 months and 7 years old.
However, the two boys and two girls were 8, 6, 4, and 10 months old, GoErie reported. They were staying at the Harris Family Daycare because their parents worked overnight, their grandmother added.
The family had used the daycare for about a year, she said.
“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Lockett-Slupski said.
The owner of the house and operator of the daycare, Elaine Harris, was hospitalized, and police detectives said that she was in stable condition, GoErie reported.
Erie, PA house where 5 children died in a fire early Sunday morning is a registered daycare that provides 24-hour childcare.
But it was unknown Sunday afternoon if any of the children who died were staying at the daycare.https://t.co/BuuqP7oDIK
— A~ (@RES911CUE) August 11, 2019
In the incident, neighbors heard the screams of teens who escaped the blaze. They said that small children were trapped inside, Erie News Now reported.
One neighbor attempted to enter the building but was blocked by the smoke.
Santone told Erie News Now that officials are investigating the possibility that the fire may have been set.
But, he added, “It’s too early to draw that conclusion.”
Other details about the incident are not clear.
Facts About Crime in the United States
Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.
While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend. Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.