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UPDATE, 12:30 pm Eastern: Additional information and more video added. Scroll down.
FOUR CHILDREN AND TWO ADULTS have been confirmed dead this morning (Monday) following a large house fire in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
The fire began shortly before midnight Sunday and rapidly filled the entire home before the first-in units arrived on the scene. The fire was difficult to fight because of access to the house and a quick collapse of the roof and upper floor.
WNEP-TV filed this early report from the scene:
According to the coroner's office, four children ages 2, 3, 7, and 8 were killed along with their father age 30. His sister-in-law age 26 also perished, however the children's mother was not at home at the time of the blaze.
The state police fire marshal is on the scene awaiting the opportunity to get inside. There is no indication yet on the cause of the fire. Five firefighters suffered not-serious injuries.
Units are still on the scene at the time of this posting and no further information is yet available.
SpankMan posted this raw video of the blaze:
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Fire and Film has more extensive video:
The Pottsville Republican-Herald has the early STORY.
Update, 12:30 pm:
More information has been released since our first posting. WTXF-TV Ch. 29 Philadelphia reports:
Fire officials said seven people lived in the home. Just one adult, the mother, survived. She was across the street in another house doing laundry.
The initial call was apparently to the police department for a disturbance. A neighbor tried to get in but couldn't. Fire crews were called in and arrived within minutes, but there was little they could do. Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March said, "When the police got here, and the neighbors, they all tried to get in the back of the building. One of our police officers tried to get into the basement door in the front. He got in so far, but there was flames were already coming down the stairs from the second floor down to the first."
The fire crews got water in the fire immediately, March said, but within five minutes the entire front of the building was engulfed in flames.
"The neighbors smelled smoke, including the mother, and they came out to see what was going on, and they just saw it, you know, heavily involved in the back of the building, a lot of smoke coming out the front," March said.
The neighbors' response was apparently what led to the "disturbance" call to police, according to the fire chief.
All of the victims were found in the bedrooms and were believed to be asleep at the time of the fire. Two were in the back bedroom, one was in the middle bedroom, and three were in the front bedroom.
The fire is believed to have started in or near the kitchen and the investigation is first concentrating on the home's furnace and the kitchen stove as the possible origin.
Ch. 29 also has a video update:
Hat tip: Carmine S. and Ron Y.
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