(WSEE)- Five children are dead after an early morning fire in West Erie. A mother has also been flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for her injuries.
Its after Erie firefighters responded to a house fire at 1248 West 11th Street, with reports of multiple people trapped inside around 1:15 a.m.
According to Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone, seven people had to be rescued from the home, including five young children.
Neighbors a block away heard the screams of teens who had escaped as far as a second floor porch roof. They indicated that there were babies still trapped inside.
One neighbor tried to enter the first floor but was driven back by the smoke.
Firefighters were able to pull everyone out of the burning house. First responders were doing chest compressions and trying to revive them, as they were taken from the scene on stretchers.
One neighbor said that the home may have operated as an overnight day care. Chief Santone said investigators are looking at the possibility that the fire may have been set, but he added, “it’s too early to draw that conclusion.”
The chief said this type of scenario, with small children, is especially hard on firefighters, but resources are available to help if they want to talk.
Meanwhile, as fire investigators look into the cause, they will work with Erie Police if evidence presents itself.